Occupy D.C. protesters go to Baltimore church


Members of Occupy D.C. and Occupy Baltimore at Empowerment Temple Church in Baltimore. (Hamil R. Harris/The Washington Post )

“Ladies and Gentlemen, you should just start calling out to God. God you are faithful,” preached Bishop Jamal Bryant, the pastor of Empowerment Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church as more than 2,000 people gathered for the 9:30 a.m. services screamed and shouted out to the Lord.

 Even though Bryant preaches to more than 10,000 people during three different services on Sunday and is a  regular guest on Trinity Broadcasting Network, last week he joined forces with leaders of Occupy Wall Street and on Sunday more than two dozen members of the movement came to worship with their new colleague.

 “We had no idea when we started this movement that it will turn out like this,” said Kevin Zeese, one of he leaders of Occupy Washington, who was so moved by the service that he went forward during the altar call. Following the service, Bryant and leaders of Occupy D.C. and Occupy Baltimore met and talked about upcoming activities.

Mike McGuire, one of the leaders of Occupy Baltimore, who also attended the church service, said some of the issues his group is focused on include “privatization of recreation centers, how development is conducted and the youth jail.”

“In the state they are investing more in the incarceration of youth than education,” McGuire said.

 On Christmas Day, Bryant and members of his choir will hold a special worship service on Freedom Plaza. Then, on January 16, he and members of the faith community are planning to bring crutches, wheel chairs and other items for people with disabilities  to branches of the Federal Reserve Bank.

  “What Occupy is going to do is really educate the masses to be fiscally responsible,”said Bryant, who last week took part in a press conference with other African American faith leaders who are part of this effort. “Occupy is not about lengthening welfare. It is about really getting people who have a work ethic to be able to build a future for  their families.”

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Hamil Harris is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of The Washington Post.

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