Baltimore Church Takes Innovative Action To Rebuild City

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In order for Baltimore to rebuild, Pastor GJ Barnes, of The Elevation Chapel AME Church launched #ElevateBaltimore, a movement which seeks to refocus people around investing in things that uplift the community, versus just protesting about the injustices that plague the community.

We believe in a simple truth; calling out injustices is just the first step, but working together and building our community is the important and necessary second step

In order for Baltimore to rebuild, Pastor GJ Barnes, of The Elevation Chapel AME Church launched #ElevateBaltimore, a movement which seeks to refocus people around investing in things that uplift the community, versus just protesting about the injustices that plague the community. The movement is about calling volunteers, religious institutions, citizens and organizations to come together to convert frustration into volunteerism, mentoring, giving and engagement. “We believe in a simple truth; calling out injustices is just the first step, but working together and building our community is the important and necessary second step” says First Lady Junetta Barnes, who frequently appeared on Bravo’s hit TV show “Thicker Than Water.”

The #ElevateBaltimore movement is a part of the greater vision of the church to seek effective, and often non-traditional ways to change people’s lives in Baltimore. “We are continuing our Basketball/Mentoring program and our new ‘Manhood Through Music’ program that seeks young men who want to learn how to produce music with hands-on studio workstations, which allows young people to express themselves musically in a constructive manner. In addition, each participant is partnered with a mentor” movement founder, Pastor GJ Barnes stated.

“We have learned that we have to start with things that our young people are already interested in, versus things we want them to be interested in” he stated. “We support protesting against the all-to-common injustices in our community. The goal of this movement is that we don’t go home after protesting, but we pivot to the things that will actually lift our community. If I could use an analogy, right now we are focused on putting out the fire of injustices, but at the same time we have to be remember that after the fire is out, we have to build."

Sunday May 3rd at 11am The Elevation Chapel is having an #ElevateBaltimore community outreach day to enlist volunteers, mentors, resources and organizations to participate in the movement, with free food, a bouncy, fun and a voter registration drive. Pastor GJ and Lady Junetta Barnes who are always looking for effective unorthodox ways to impact change, often host the unconventional “Ask the Pastor” Sundays where parishioners and visitors can directly ask the Pastor and First Lady questions.

Pastor Barnes says his vision for social and economic change has always included engagement, information and inspiration. As a young African-American male at age 27, Pastor Barnes started the Elevation Chapel AME Church in October of 2010 in Baltimore and is one of the youngest CEOs heading a national company headquartered in downtown Baltimore.
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Vanessa Salahud-Din

Vanessa Salahud-Din
@PastorGJBarnes
since: 10/2010
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