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One Church – One School Expands to West Coast

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Los Angeles

Seventy-five pastors from the Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church California region stood in unison during their mid-winter conference in Los Angeles to make a public vow to teach and restore the values of life and learning in public schools.

They hope to improve the quality of life for school age youth by partnering with public schools throughout the state to launch the highly successful “One Church – One School” program, it was announced on December 13 by Bishop Henry M. Williamson Sr., presiding prelate of the CME Ninth District.

“We want to help the schools achieve their educational goals,” stated Williamson, “it’s time we moved from our pews and onto the playgrounds to offer love and support to our children and teachers, not rhetoric.”

One Church – One School was created in 1992 in Chicago, Illinois by Williamson to match the church’s resources with the school’s needs.

Using the “P” principle of total involvement, the individual churches successfully met with principals, parents, pupils, police, professionals, politicians, popular personalities, philanthropists and community people to partner with over 200 schools in Chicago Il; Detroit, MI; Gary, ID; Denver, CO; Kansas City, MO; St. Louis, MO and Decatur, IL. Barriers to quality education were discussed and realistic goals were set that helped children attain higher educational skills and improved behavior.

Eiko Moriyama, director of LAUSD Adopt-A-School program agreed with the process. “It is much more effective to meet with the schools to determine how you can help, rather than designing a program that doesn’t work for the school.

That’s no different than someone coming into your home for the first time and giving you drapes that don’t match your furniture. It’s a nice thought, but it just doesn’t fit.”

One Church – One School was explained as a complement to the teaching experience rather than a burden to an already busy curriculum. It was presented as strategic plans for setting reasonable goals that ultimately benefit the community at large.

“I’d rather we do one thing right,” Williamson explained, “than a lot of things wrong.”
Standing in support of the One Church – One School program were LAUSD School Board Member Genethia Hayes; Captain Cecil Rhambo from LA County Sheriff’s Compton office; Congresswoman Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles); Bill Lloyd, Director of Labor and Senate Affairs representing the Office of Governor Gray Davis; Thaddus Jackson, principal of LaSalle Avenue Elementary School and many other civic and community leaders.

One of the most moving presentations came from Kevin Biggers, Director of Governor Gray Davis’ Inland Empire Office. He stated, “Keep reaching out to the children. I was a product of the inner city, coming from a single parent household with eight children. But when I was five a preacher believed in me and I stand here today because someone took the time to encourage me. Keep reaching out.”

Pastors participating in the program represent the following cities in California: Sacramento; Fresno; Oakland; San Francisco; Richmond; Riverside; Los Angeles; Long Beach; Victorville; San Diego; Santa Barbara; Santa Monica; Pasadena and El Centro School districts, principals and other educators interested in developing partnerships with churches in their area should call the CME Ninth District Office at (323) 294-3830.

A representative will match the school with a caring, local church.

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