BANGOR, Maine — The role faith can play in social justice issues in local communities and the world will be the topic of this year’s Insight Conference, set for Aug. 22-24, and sponsored by Columbia Street Baptist Church.
The theme of the three-day meeting is “Turning the Page,” the Rev. Stan Moody, senior pastor of the church in downtown Bangor, said Thursday.
“The conference will bring together some heavy hitters in the social service areas to explore how the communities of faith can be more effective in helping solve these social problems in our cities,” Moody said.
The conference will begin with a talk at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at Husson University by the Rev. Ron Snider, founder of Evangelicals for Social Action. Snider, a professor of theology at Palmer Theological Seminary in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, will outline the challenges and opportunities a faith community faces when it decides to allow evangelism and social actions to exist symbiotically.
“Evangelism creates the changed lives that are necessary to lasting social change and social action lives out the good news of the Gospel in a way that is attractive to those outside the faith community,” Snider has said.
Following Snider’s lecture, representatives of the Bangor YMCA, Maine Pretrial Services, the city of Bangor and a prison re-entry program will discuss how the church might broaden its outreach to help solve the problems of crime, poverty and homelessness in downtown Bangor, Moody said.
Snider also will preach at 10:15 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24, at the church, located at 63 Columbia St., in Bangor. His sermon is titled “Loving the Whole Person the Way Jesus Did.”
The Rev. Fela Barrueto will speak about “ Prison Re-entry and AfterCare Ministry” at 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the church. Barrueto is the national coordinator for Prisoner Re-entry and Aftercare Ministry at the American Baptist Home Mission Societies and will talk about the program.
Columbia Street Baptist is considering beginning a similar program for individuals released from Penobscot County Jail, a downtown neighbor, Moody said Thursday.
Missionary Karen Smith will discuss her work with young women who are victims of sex trafficking in northern Thailand at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the church. Smith, who is the executive director of New Life Center Foundation, has been an American Baptist International Ministries missionary for 14 years. The foundation provides education, vocational training and therapeutic activities, according to information on its website.
For information about the Insights Conference, call 945-6616 or visit www.csbcbangor.org.