Union Baptist Church - A National Historic Treasure

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, September 29, 2010 0 comments

Sunday, October 3, 2010 will be a special day in the life of the Union Baptist Church family.


It will be HOMECOMING DAY.

Our morning worship experience will begin at 10:00 a.m. I'm working a sermon entitled, "Being in the Temple." It's scripture reference is Psalm 122. "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord."

Following the morning worship and beginning at 12:15 p.m. will be a Dedication Program that will unveil two plaques: one that will note the designation of Union Baptist Church unto the National Listing of Historic Places of the National Parks Service and the second will list the names and tenure of the 10 pastors who have served during its 158 years of existence.

The City of Baltimore will present a permanent marker that will be placed in front of the church designating it as one of the stops on the Historic Pennsylvania Avenue trail. United States Senator Ben Cardin and Superintendent Gay Vietzke, Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine will be among the public officials participating in the Dedication Program.

Following all of this excitement will be an old fashion Church Family Dinner.

"It is no secret what God can do. What He has done for others, He will do for you!"

No to another juvenile detention center

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, September 28, 2010 0 comments

If the planning for the proposed $104 Million youth detention center commenced under the administration of then Governor Ehrlich and has now continued under the administration of Governor O'Malley, what is the difference in their public policy towards our youth?


If there is no difference then we are stuck between a rock and a hard place?

If there is a difference, Governor O'Malley needs to publicly reverse a bad policy decision by the former Governor and state that he will not build another youth detention center in Baltimore City or anywhere else in the State of Maryland.

If Governor O'Malley is unwilling, unable, or simply won't change this proposed plan, why should he be reelected?

Vacant Houses need to be taken down

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, September 23, 2010 0 comments

How can you have so much vacant property within a community? This is Bethel and Lansing Streets in East Baltimore. Apparently it is ready for demolition. My question is when will the demolition take place? Beyond being an eyesore, this is not healthy to have decaying property which is a haven for rodents and disease in the midst of any city. Tear this mess down!

Head Start Sunday at Union Baptist Church

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, September 22, 2010 0 comments

This Sunday, September 26th Union Baptist Church will celebrate Head Start Sunday. For the past 42 years, Union Baptist Church - School, Inc. has managed the Union Baptist / Harvey Johnson Head Start Program. It has provided childhood education to over 7, 000 students during that period. Currently there are 214 students enrolled. We have a staff of over 40 persons. As we prepare for this glorious day, our congregation will recommit themselves to providing safe, learning environments for families and youth. We will strengthen the bond between the congregation and the families we serve. We will provide a worship experience for children 3 - 5 years old in our historic church. God is in the miracle business. It is a miracle indeed that a idea begun during the Johnson Administration has proven to be a wise investment of federal funds over many administration, both Democratic and Republica. A head start is the best start for the children of our community.

Putting America Back to Work

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, September 18, 2010 0 comments

A local publication has asked me to contribute an op ed article on the importance of work for individuals, families and communities.

After applying the principles of "trickle down" economics, the Obama Administration recognizes that now is the time to pump money into the United States economy from the bottom up.

The Obama Administration listened to the cries of Wall Street and funded an historic bail-out for corporations. The bail-out operated on reasoned assumption (theory) that once those corporations reduced their toxic debt and improved their balance sheets, they would hire new employees and increase production.


The assumption did not manifest the outcomes intended. Instead corporations freed from toxic debt, reduced their workforces, banked the cash, raised prices and then realized that they could increase production with less employees. The employees who were fortunate to retain their jobs worked harder, producing more, and actually earning less. The workers began performing multiple functions which in the minds of the corporate interests mitigated the need for hiring new personnel.

Now the Obama Administration intends to pump money into the economy in sectors that require industries and agencies to hire workers: bridge and highway construction, tunnel maintenance and upgrade, and other public sector jobs that require additional people power. While this activity is good and has value for improving our infrastructure, I'm not certain that hiring practices of the corporations which will benefit from this increase in business will actually reach into the America's inner city communities and hire new personnel.

Multi-million dollar capital improvements in poverty stricken communities. Job training, skill development and work opportunities for local residents are essential for the economic upturn in American cities.

The Obama Administration will do well by implementing programs to ensure that human capital in inner city neighborhoods and communities is not ignored and wasted.


White House Briefing for African American Clergy

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, September 16, 2010 0 comments

Friday, September 17th from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. as a component of The Congressional Black Caucus weekend, selected clergy from across the country will be privy to a briefing by President Obama's senior staff. My invitation and attendance demonstrate how far The Obama Administration has drilled down into communities across the country to provide access to indigenous leadership. I have been honored to develop relationships with his senior advisory team throughout every agency of government, including the White House. What does this mean on the local level? It allows me on the grassroots level to have access to the same information that is available to Senate, Congressional, State and Local Government leadership. It creates a true partnership with the Federal Government that is invaluable when dealing with local political leaders who insulate themselves from the local community. In the mind of the Obama Administration, "place matters." The zip code that ones lives in is as valuable as the State in which you reside. One's efforts on within a local community merit the same support that State Government receives as it seeks to carry out is state-wide objectives. This Administration understands that there has been a long history of local neighborhoods left out and left behind. Through senior level interaction bureaucratic barriers are broken down and access to information is in "real time." While the conversations within the room are confidential, the ability to raise salient questions and advocate for change within my local neighborhood is buttressed by knowing that you have a friend in the White House and Jesus. Now, that's good news.

Stay Out of Mess!

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, September 15, 2010 0 comments

You must be old school if you remember Laurel and Hardy. As I'm working on Sunday's sermon, I remember one of their famous lines when Hardy would say to Laurel, "what a fine mess you have gotten me into."


The sermon text is Psalm 107. I commend you to read this text it outlines four types of mess in which people sometimes find themselves entangled.

My sermon title is, "Stay Out of Mess!"

Mess is defined as those attitudes, attributes, associations and actions that take you away from the will and way of God.

How Mr. Bernstein Won!

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

The race for Baltimore City State's Attorney between Patrica Jessamy and Gregg Berstein can best be characterized by saying that an organized group will beat an unorganized group any day.


It appears that Mr. Berstein has won a close election where the total number of persons voting in Baltimore City were less than 59,000. Unbelievable, only 58,934 people voted!

Of that number Mr. Bernstein received 29, 121. In effect, 29,121 people decided that a change was needed in a City-wide office and was able to exercise their will to effect that change. How is it possible that you can run a City-Wide campaign in Baltimore City and win with less than 30,000 votes?

We have watched the voting patterns trend towards the minority community voting at a greater rate than the majority community. This trend reached its logical conclusion yesterday. When the election results are finally analyzed, I believe we will discover that a significant shift in voting power has emerged with a solid block of voters aligned around their own self-interest. Anyone who is seeking a City-Wide office and not recognize this trend will do so at their peril. Clearly forces have aligned in such a way that they are determined to participate and take control of the City to insure that their voices are heard and that their is a positive response to their issues.

Winning an election is not jumping in front of every camera you see; it is grassroots organizing, talking to people one on one, and knowing your voting constituents. It's being responsive to people's needs everyday so that they understand that you are on their side and will be an advocate for their concerns.

To my Clergy colleagues who fashion themselves as community leaders, let this be a wake up call. Our disorganization is obvious. The Emperor has no clothes!

Elected officials who think that they can run to the church community two weeks before election day; do it only if you need prayer, because the votes you will receive are meager at best.

In a City with a population of 600,000+, less than 10% of the population took the time to vote and less than 5% of the population determined the outcome of this election. Mayday is here for every African American City Wide candidate who thinks that they will win because of their smile and studio picture on a poster.

From this point on the only candidates that will win will be the ones who organize their constituents. Unless the Church community commits to a serious organizing effort sustained over a period of time, they will be reduced to being irrelevant in the political affairs of our City.

Re-Elect Patrica C. Jessamy

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, September 13, 2010 0 comments

Decision time is Tuesday, September 14th in our local Baltimore City elections. Everyone should exercise their right to vote. The campaign that has captured the imagination of people city-wide is the race for The Baltimore City State's Attorney.


I'm prepared to make my personal choice public.

I support the reelection of Baltimore City State's Attorney Patrica C. Jessamy.

Here are my reasons why:

1) As a Pastor of an inner city congregation, it is important that I have access to the Baltimore City State's Attorney. Ms. Jessamy is accessible and has always been open to dialogue. I have never met the other candidate, nor have I seen him in the community where I serve.

2) I had the opportunity to work for Baltimore City State's Attorney Milton B. Allen. I have personally known every State's Attorney since: William B. Swisher, Kurt L. Schmoke, Stuart Simms. The political shift from the Allen administration to the Swisher administration took the focus of the office off of innovative programs to litigation of all accused on all offensives. The office became alienated from the community and we lost ground in the progressive movement to create an atmosphere of rehabilitation and reintegration. The Schmoke, Simms, and Jessamy administrations returned the attention of the office to a more balanced approach towards adjudicating the accused. I believe the candidate would negate the gains we have made in the more balanced approach the office currently has.

3) Race is a factor. I am not comfortable with a candidate who arrives on the scene with a frontal attack on the African American community of its political leadership. The underlining signals that are being transmitted is appalling to me and causes me to think that the goal of a racial integrated city is a pipe dream. As a native of Baltimore I understand that to the winner goes the spoils. I grew up under administrations where leaders within the African American community had to go hat in hand to persons from other cultures seeking the benefits that their offices could distribute. We have the academic, political, and social networks to elect persons who come from our community and understand the complex negotiations that goes on daily among the leadership of our city over the distribution of resources. I'm not prepared to return to a hat in hand era again. I will fight to protect political office holders who come from my community, just as any ethic group protects its interests. But, I will also hold them to a high level of accountability and integrity.

4) The Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office is a source of high paying jobs. It is the training ground for lawyers, the preparation place for future judges, and the highly skilled talent pool that provides an anchor in our communities. It is important that the person who controls the hiring practices of this office understands my desire for diversity, but also my desire to be a source of jobs for the talented generation of lawyers and administrators who we have nurtured and trained within our community.

5) Finally, logic teaches me that inductive reasoning is flawed. To take small samplings of data and use that for a basic of making a decision has inherent errors. A 15 year record has to be looked at longitudinally. Therefore, deductive reasoning informs me that State's Attorney Patrica C. Jessamy has served us well and deserve to be re-elected to continue to serve.

We Must Work to End Poverty

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

I learned something after experiencing the feeding program conducted by 5 Churches in Upton. We were able to feed over 1,400 persons at a cost of $5.00 per person. Each family received two large brown grocery bags of fresh produce and dry goods.


Because of our newly established relations with the Maryland Food Bank we will be able to cut that cost in half to $3.50 per person in the future.

If the same products and produce was purchased individually by each family from a retail store, the cost would have been well over $150.00.

The challenge to the church community is to organize the people of our respective neighborhoods into massive cooperatives that drives down the cost of living per person by our collective economic clout.

In this manner we can end poverty among target groups by illustrating how to more strategically use the resources they have and drive down the cost of living and minimize their exploitation by mass marketing and corporate greed.

We could attack every item of expenditures that impact our families: food, energy, health care, clothing, shelter, gasoline, etc. Our attack should be directed towards reducing the cost to each family of the overpriced goods and services they need and buy for daily living.

I am willing to spent time, resources and energy on developing this creative community model.

Are you?

Dr. Ron Waters

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, September 11, 2010 0 comments

Dr. Ron Walters has joined our ancestral chorus of faithful servants who showed us through his living commitment to excellence and dedication. He used his intellectual prowess to challenge the power system to respond to the needs of those who needed an advocate. He was a member of the academy, but used that position to teach the community the true meaning of political engagement, involvement and participation. In public interviews he made us proud as he articulated the meaning and effects of public policy. Now it is his time for his eternal reward. We will forever pour libations to his memory and spirit. RIP!

The Highway to Nowhere

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, September 10, 2010 0 comments

In the middle of West Baltimore along Route 70 you will find the road that is called, "The Highway to Nowhere." This disaster of an urban renewal plan terminated in the middle of a community and thus disrupted the lives of untold people. It turned homeowners into renters. It sapped the legacy wealth from a group of people of people struggling to buy homes. It turned communities into a wasteland. It caused the lost of three churches. The failed plan was adopted by the City of Baltimore from the infamous Robert Moses. His track record of disrupting New York neighborhoods should have been enough to have left him alone. But entwined in his rational was an insidious plan to tear apart the emerging political power of the African American community by ripping apart homogeneous neighborhoods. He succeeded in this portion of West Baltimore and many of the people who were displaced moved into Park Heights and thus overpopulated that community. "The Highway to Nowhere" was a disaster all the way around. The political winds have shifted and occupying the White House is President Obama. The African American political leadership is more astute than when this plan was concocted. Governor O'Malley and Mayor Rawlings-Blake are to be complemented, along with the persistent community leaders remaining in that community for seeing this day come to fruition. Federal stimulus money played a key role in having the resources allocated to tear down the eyesore and reconnect these communities once again. Hip Hip Hooray!

Black MBA Classic

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, September 9, 2010 0 comments

I rarely pay attention to social events unless they serve some community or religious purpose. I became aware of the Black MBA Classic because of the involvement of two aggressive and accomplished young businessmen from Baltimore. These young men both well under 30 have already distinguished themselves in the academy. Each having earned respectively four degrees: one has earned degrees in finance, economics, integrated marketing and business administration, the other has earned degrees in computer engineering, electrical engineering, business and law. As African American males they are setting the standard for academic achievement. Both work for major corporations and hold positions within those organizations of responsibility. What caught my attention is their willingness to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities, in this case, Howard University. Beginning September 22nd the National Black MBA Association, Inc. will hold its conference in Los Angeles. These entrepreneurs are assisting Howard University with event planning and corporation relations. The Black MBA Classic is designed to bring emerging MBA students into relationship with corporate recruiters and into a national relationship with each other. These lofty goals are being achieved through hosting what will be in premier event in Los Angeles. I commend Howard University and 220 Productions for staying true to the mission of educating the next generation of leadership and for opening doors for them to walk through.

Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

Our prayers go out the Rev. Marvin Sapp and his family in the lost of his wife, Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp.


Tragedy does not discriminate. Pain is universal. The good news is that the love is God is promised in such a way that nothing, absolutely nothing, will ever separate you from His love. For that we are thankful and join people of concern who are praying for Rev. Sapp during this leg of his journey.

He sings, "Never Would Have Made It." My prayer is that as he sings he becomes stronger and wiser in his praise of God.

Staying True to Your Mission

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, September 8, 2010 1 comments

Reading Acts 27 the story about Paul and his shipwreck experience. As I prepare Sunday's sermon which is entitled, "Staying True to Your Mission." The question in my mind is how many times do we allow distractions, disinterest, disengagement, disillusionment, and despair counteract our God given dreams, goals and aspirations? The evil one is always seeking to deny, to deter, or deflect us from what God has intended for us. The good news of the story is that if you stay true to your mission you will find that through the storm, through the rain, through the sickness, and through the pain you can depend on God. Since we can depend on God, then we should live in such a way that God can depend on us. In the midst of all that you are going through, "stay true to your mission."

The Performing Arts School at Booker T. Washington Middle

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, September 7, 2010 0 comments

The Performing Arts School at Booker T. Washington in Baltimore, Maryland opened its door for students this morning. They walked into a renovated and refurbished school that was brightly painted, floors polished, with renovated classrooms, health suites, and offices. As an aspect of our commitment from the church community to attend 5 schools during the first week. Members of the church and I were following through on our commitment. We arrive at 7:45 a.m. and stood with the hall monitors welcoming students to their first day of school. We met with the exciting new principal, Dr. McGruner and offered her the support of our church and collaborative during this coming school year. The students responded positively to our greetings. All appeared eager for school's on opening day. I look forward to a fruitful and successful year at this school. I know that working together will bring success to our students careers and a positive environment to this school. "Together is Better!"

On the Avenue

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, September 6, 2010 0 comments

I commend Drs. Lester A. McCorn, Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church, Douglas Summers, Providence Baptist Church, and S. Todd Yeary, Douglas Memorial Community Church for standing with me on Pennsylvania Avenue to signal to the powers that be that the faith community is engaged and involved in the redevelopment process promised long ago. Our beloved brother Rev. Dr. Frank Madison Reid, III, Bethel A.M.E. is also apart of the collective and sent an able representative, Minister Michael, as well as, members of his church to share in the experience yesterday.


It is time for a change in West Baltimore, particularly on Pennsylvania Avenue, and a change is going to come.

Labor Day Weekend on the Avenue

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, September 5, 2010 0 comments

Union Baptist Church receives its historic designation marker that will signify its place on the Pennsylvania Avenue Historic Trail. Our church is one of twenty sites that will make up this new tourist attraction in West Baltimore. Many thanks to the Preservation Office of the City and Pennsylvania Avenue Revitalization Collaborative for its efforts in bringing this to fruition. The Labor Day weekend will forever be a time of celebration that will highlight the rich culture and vibrancy of the Upton Community. The weekend came to a conclusion with a worship experience hosted by Bethel A.M.E., Douglas Memorial CC. Pennsylvania Avenue AME Zion, Providence Baptist and Union Baptist Church. Music was provided by The Singing Sensations. Approximately 100 Bibles were distributed to participants.

Pennsylvania Avenue

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, September 4, 2010 0 comments

In 1949 there was no question that Pennsylvania Avenue was the cultural and social center of the African American community in Baltimore City. The Royal Theater was its crown jewel. This Labor Day weekend the restoration effort begins in earnest as a series of activities will take place.


On Friday, Sept. 3rd political, religious, and community leaders came together to announce the Pennsylvania Avenue Heritage Trail and its 20 distinct landmark sites. Plaques were ceremoniously presented to the representatives of those sites to illustrate the messages describing their significance that are em-brazen on them. As visitors walk through the community these plaques will tell the story of this community and its rich heritage. The National Park Service will have guides dressed in red shirts on the ground assisting in the interpretation.

On Saturday, Sept. 4th the world famous Cadillac Parade will slowly travel the Pennsylvania Avenue route. Marching Bands, world-class entertainment, and energetic people will grace the route and share in the fun and excitement. The glory days of the Pennsylvania Avenue will be reenacted.

On Sunday, Sept. 5th the weekend will conclude with a religious service, "5 Churches, 2 Commandments, 5,000 Families." Renaissance, Remembering, Reclaiming, Reinvesting, and Rebuilding will be the themes of the messages that will be preached.

Joining in the ecumenical service will be Rev. Dr. Frank Madison Reid, III, Pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Rev. Dr. S. Todd Yeary, Pastor of Douglas Memorial Community Church, Rev. Dr. Lester A. McCorn, Pastor of Pennsylvania Avenue African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Rev. Dr. Douglas Summers, Co-Pastor of Providence Baptist Church, and Rev. Dr. Alvin C. Hathaway, Sr., Pastor of Union Baptist Church. They will be joined on the stage by The Singing Sensations, a community based youth choir.

On Tuesday, Sept. 7th members of the participating church will attend the 5 community schools on opening day to greet the students and to show support for the staffs. On Saturday, Sept. 11th the churches will provide food to 5,000 families within the Upton Community.

Throughout the year, they will bring to fruition a vision entitled, "Promise Heights" within the this historic community.

44th District Candidate Forum

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, September 2, 2010 0 comments

Tonight is the night for the 44th District State Delegates Candidates Forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.


I will be the moderator and our church will host the Forum: 1219 Druid Hill Avenue.

There are ten candidates running for the Three State Delegate officers. The three incumbents are running. I'm looking for a lively discussion on the issues. My task will be to keep each candidate on point.

After watching tapes of Gwen Ifill, I'm ready!

The Forum begins at 7:00 p.m. and will end at 9:00 p.m.

In The Deep

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

There are moments in your life when you are in the deepest, loneliest, and most isolated place. Even in a crowd, you feel that you are by yourself. It's being in the abyss were you struggle to make your way out without knowing how to get out. I'm working on Sunday's sermon from the 2nd Chapter of Jonah to see if this story provides us any incite into what to do when you find yourself in the deep. When you are in the deep there is only one thing you can do and that is wait for your deliverance. The Good News is that your help is on the way!

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