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Ministry to African American Boys

"Enlightened Males"

In 1995 I was appointed to pastor Mother Liberty CME Church in Jackson, Tennessee and the following year with the help of men in the congregation we began the program as a ministry of the church.  It did not take long for me to see that this ministry needed community involvement.  In 1997 I became active with the Social Action committee of my local graduate chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., Theta Iota.  The men of Omega were enthusiastic about EM and soon were very involved and adopted it as a major social action program.

From the outset I sought unsuccessfully to provide a coordinator for the program with a small stipend available,  EM almost died when I was elected General Secretary, but after a year hiatus, it returned strong again and was housed at Mount Pleasant CME Church where the now Dr. Willa Ross was pastor.  The church continued to house the ministry and I am grateful to the strong support from layman Mr. Charles Bethea of the church and Pastor Richard McBride and members for allowing it to happen.  

Beginning this year we moved to a Tigrett Middle School where we will be able to expand the program as we will have use of the school’s facilities, including a gym and library.  The brothers are excited and I hope this becomes one of the national initiatives of the fraternity..  

However, I first of all want to get our men across the connection involved.  I introduced the book at the 2009 Annual Convocation and thanks to the support of the college of Bishops, the proactive work of the General Secretary of Ministry to Men, Dr. Leo Pinkett, and forthright  leadership of the General Officers Council President,  Dr. Joe Neal; the book has begun to be distributed across the connection.   I look forward to many more orders as the word spreads.

The purpose of the EM program is to prepare African American males for manhood.  It is a Rites of Passage program with a 12 month curriculum. The present program presents an opportunity for African American males ages 10-17 to be exposed to a variety of topics, experiences, and most importantly African American male leaders.

The program is designed to be a supplement to families, school, and church.  It specifically  enhances  knowledge of self, history, and inspires young African American males to expand their horizons.  Field trips to such places as the National Civil Rights Museum, service projects, and outside expert speakers are a part of the program.

A witness to the power and potential of the EM program is the commitment made by a businessman in Memphis who gave $10,000 to support the program.  This has allowed our present program to offer many opportunities to boys without cost.  Additionally, it is wonderful to see young men today as doctors, pastors, teachers, musicians and others simply contributing positively to society who were once a part of the EM program.  

Dr. Carmichael Crutchfield
The Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
General Secretary Department of Christian Education