On Friday, June 15 and Saturday June 16, 2012 a historic first occurred at First Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church. It was on these two days that “host pastor,” Clarence “Teddy” Williams joined with Hakim Willis Jones and Imam Maajid Faheem ‘Ali of Masjid Jihad, to sponsor an interfaith/interracial conference. The conference titled: “Embracing Time-tested Traditions for the Preservation of Fatherhood,” was designed to bring our community together to discuss topics relevant to unity and cooperation; with the aim of developing “resolutions” to be implemented for community improvement. What made this conference “historic” was that an African-American church coordinated with a Muslim Mosque and a European- American church for dialoguing; and, thereafter, working together on an ongoing basis.
During the conference, participants were engaged in thought-provoking discussions/ workshops incorporating, but not limited to: “Religion and the Actions of Men in Our Society, What Women Need From Men, and Real Men Don’t Cry: Emotions.” Among those who facilitated workshops or who served on a panel for the workshops were: Reverend Cheryl Parris, of; St Matthews Episcopal Church; Rev. Jim Nelson, of; Holy Spirit Lutheran Church; Rev. C.M. Brown, of; 2nd African Baptist Church; Rev. Billy Hester, of; Asbury Memorial UMC; Rev. Paul Shepherd, of; Thankful Baptist Church; Ret. Col. McArthur Holmes, of; Chatham County Sheriff’s Department; Mr. Bennie Polote, Sr., of; The Polote Corp.; and, Rev De’Herri Thurmond Sr., of; St .Paul C.M.E. Church. One of the goals of this conference was to convene again, in one year, to assess the progress made towards fulfilling the “resolutions” which were established in the various workshops.