Alliance seeks a forum with Gov. Crist


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 1:57 p.m.
The Alachua County Ministerial Alliance held its first meeting of 2007, and the Rev. Milford L. Griner, the newly re-elected president of the group, announced plans to invite Gov. Charlie Crist to come to Gainesville for a public forum in late February or early March.
The meeting was held Monday evening at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Gainesville.
"The alliance has deep concerns for issues that have an effect on our members and our communities, and we want to do all we can to solve problems that may arise from time to time," Griner said, adding that the visit by Crist, if it happens, would be a great place for people to come together and discuss solutions to area problems.
On Tuesday, Rev. Griner sent the newly elected governor an e-mail message asking him ''to make a brief trip to Gainesville either in late February or very early March to meet with our alliance and to hear about our concerns and issues.''
The Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Wright Sr., retired pastor or Mount Carmel Baptist Church and a member of the alliance, suggested the idea, and said there needs to be more discussion about problems facing the black community.
"The incarceration rate among black males keeps going up and up, and the AIDS epidemic keeps getting worse," Rev. Wright said. "There needs to be some discussion about solutions to these and other problems in our community, and we as an alliance need to do whatever we can to make a difference."
Wright also suggested that the alliance urge the county to use some of a $76 million bond issue to build a civic center in town, adding that east Gainesville would be the ideal place for the center to be located.
"A civic center is like a family room for a community," Wright said. "There ought to be a long-term plan for what is the top priority of the bond issue."
The Rev. Dr. W.G. Mayberry, pastor of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church and past president of the alliance, said it is time for black clergy to come together and work on solutions to problems in the black community.
"How can you not be a part of a ministerial alliance that has been called to help people," Rev. Mayberry said.
Wright suggested that the alliance reach out to pastors in the community and say, "We need you."
Wright said the alliance is needed now more than ever.
"The civil rights program may be lagging, but the problems in our community are numerous," he said. "We need to get more people involved."
Other ministers attending the meeting were Pastor David Latimore, who succeeds Rev. Wright at Mount Carmel, Minister Clayton Maxwell of Pleasant Hill, Minister James Powell of Springhill Baptist Church, and Minister Terence Pollard of Pleasant Hill.
It also was announced that Minister Hones Brown of Friendship Baptist Church has been elected as the group's vice president, replacing the Rev. Dr. George Champion, formerly of Greater Bethel AME Church, who is no longer in the area.
The alliance is made up of a group of local pastors and ministers from all denominations whose purpose is to offer the community support, information and assistance.

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