Albany- Local religious leaders are teaching about transition. "To get a freedom, a sense of direction a sense of purpose a sense of understanding," says Apostle Jerry Marks. Understanding what makes a man complete, developing the mind, body, and soul, all necessary aspects leaders feel makes a successful individual.
"We're talking about helping men to be healthier physically, helping men to be healthier spiritually and then helping them to get back in school and educate themselves, go back to college, make all kinds of transitions spiritually and naturally," says Bishop Victor Powell.
Bishop Powell is one of four pastors who've joined together for a cause. They're empowering the men of the community with a two-day training conference and the keyword is unity. "Coming together, no big U's, no little I's, no one's bigger than the other, people coming together with their ideas," says Powell. They're uniting to teach these men about health, employment, spiritual development and also transitioning back into society.
"When I was growing up, I didn't really have any role models or anybody to explain the stupid things I was doing," says conference attendee Tom Foley. This conference is helping men like Tom Foley identify the causes of past failures or mistakes, a necessary step to establish a plan of action for the future. "If there was a workshop like this way back when I was growing up I wouldn't have been in prison as many times as I have been," says Foley.
Apostle Marks says, "It lets them see that hey, there is hope because if one brother or one person can come out so can I." Leaders believe by taking crime out of local areas and replacing that with safety and peace, there will be a positive shift, a shift that begins with the men reaching out. "You also have to reach out to brothers that have been there and they can set you on a different path," says Foley.
The right path, a path that begins with coming together as a whole. "The powerful thing about unity is that everyone is not alike but yet we bring that diversity together, that difference together and say what's the common thing we can do together to impact the community," says Bishop Powell.
This year's conference was such a success that leaders hope this will be the start of something that will continue to impact not only men but everyone in the community.
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