Con­fer­ence aimed at strength­en­ing fam­i­lies

Pas­tors ral­ly­ing the com­mu­nity to make a dif­fer­ence

The Covington News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rachel Oswald

Lo­cal pas­tors alarmed by the ris­ing rates of drug use, gangs and poor school per­for­mance among the county’s youth will be hold­ing a fam­ily con­fer­ence to ad­dress the cri­sis this Fri­day and Satur­day at East­side High School.

Called “The Crit­i­cal Hour Fam­ily Con­fer­ence” the event will be hosted by Pas­tor Carl­ton Mathis of Mace­do­nia Mis­sion­ary Bap­tist Church. Guest speak­ers for the event in­clude re­tired NFL cor­ner­back and New­ton High School grad­u­ate Dale Carter and Pas­tor Eric Lee of Spring­field Bap­tist Church.

Ac­cord­ing to Mathis the name for the con­fer­ence came from his be­lief that the county’s youth are in a spir­i­tual cri­sis and un­less some­thing is done to give them di­rec­tion and hope for their fu­tures, an en­tire gen­er­a­tion will be lost to the rav­ages of drugs, poverty and the na­tion’s ju­di­cial sys­tem.

Mathis said the con­fer­ence will ad­dress a variety of the is­sues fac- ing to­day’s young peo­ple such as pre-mar­i­tal sex, drug aware­ness and gang vi­o­lence.

“The goal of the con­fer­ence is to be­gin to re-en­er­gize di­a­logue be­tween par­ents and their chil­dren and to get par­ents ac­tively in­volved in their kids ac­tiv­i­ties to coun­ter­act th­ese gang ties.”

Call­ing the con­fer­ence a bench­mark for fu­ture progress, Mathis said he has been grat­i­fied to re­ceive so much sup­port from other pas­tors and churches in putting the con­fer­ence to­gether.

The con­fer­ence will be­gin at 6 p.m., Fri­day Aug. 11 at the East­side High School Au­di­to­rium with a tes­ti­mo­nial from Dale Carter, fol­lowed by a praise and wor­ship ser­vice. A gen­eral ses­sion led by Pas­tor Lee will be held at 7 p.m. The con­fer­ence will re­sume at 11 a.m. Satur­day with a morn­ing glory ser­vice led by Mathis fol­lowed by break­away ses­sions at 12:30 p.m.

There will also be rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the county and City of Cov­ing­ton’s D.A.R.E. pro­gram and gang task force and the African-Amer­i­can His­tor­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion of New­ton County who will ad­dress ques­tions from con­fer­ence at­ten­dees.

This event is free and open to the pub­lic.

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