AMOS Network holds second community-wide meeting
COMMUNITY ACTIVISTS Kittra Hudnall, left, Elois Powe, Angela Hudnall and Juanita Grady sing "Lift Every Voice" during the packed Amos Network meeting at 31st Avenue Baptist Church Thursday night. Photo by Carisa McCain/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
June 28, 2002
Extra chairs were set up to accommodate an overflow crowd at 31st Avenue Baptist Church Thursday evening where more than 150 people gathered for the second city-wide AMOS Network meeting.
The AMOS Network is a church and community based group that also has chapters in Jackson, Madison County and in other states. The organization's goal is to unite the community across racial, cultural and denominational lines to identify problems within the community and form solutions.
The leadership of 15 local churches began working together more than a year ago to start a chapter in Meridian. The first community-wide meeting was held in April.
Charles Stewart, 57, was at the initial meeting. Thursday night he had seven other members of Grace Fellowship Church with him.
Stewart said he sees a sincere effort being made to form a true cross-section of race, age and denominations in the community through AMOS. He said the organization could bring a new era of cooperation to the city.
Stewart, who is white, said his church helped renovate a local African-American church a few years ago. He said he enjoyed the experience, which allowed members of the congregation to forge contacts with other people they might never have met.
Gerald Taylor, supervisor of southeast projects for the Industrial Areas Foundation, based in Chicago, has led the local AMOS meetings. He helped form the chapter in Jackson in 1998.
Taylor said the next step for AMOS will be to continue to recruit institutions.
At the first community-wide meeting Taylor said the IAF will provide some start-up money for the local AMOS Network, but the chapter will have to be self-sufficient within three to four years through membership dues. The chapter would then hire a full-time organizer, according to Mike Dobrosky, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Mediator and one of the organizers of the local chapter.
Thursday's meeting was the first for Elizabeth and Matilde Acosta, a young couple from Panama who came to the United States to find work. They attend Central United Methodist Church.
Through an interpreter, Marion Surles, who is a member of the church, the Acostas listened to Taylor explain AMOS' goals. They told Surles they came to learn about the organization to see if it is something in which they want to be involved.
Surles said she hopes AMOS can be used to help local schools and create more job opportunities for the local Hispanic community.