Men’s retreat targets breaking the yoke of Black male incarceration

Ebenezer “weekend for justice” seeks to change the lives of troubled youth

Gigi Tinsley | 9/19/2013, 9 a.m.
The Ebenezer United Methodist Men’s [UMM] organization is determined to change the negative roads on which so many young men ...
Leaders of Ebenezer United Methodist Church men’s ministry. Assistant pastor in charge of outreach, Rev. Purnell Moody, is seated second from left. Photo courtesy Ebenezer UMC

The Ebenezer United Methodist Men’s [UMM] organization is determined to change the negative roads on which so many young men travel — often resulting in them becoming “tenants” in local prisons and jails. Recent statistics indicate that the highest percentage of incarcerated men are between the ages of 20 and 39 and most of them are Blacks, Hispanics and poor whites.

“This has to end,” said Rev. Purnell Moody, assistant pastor in charge of Outreach and Community Development at Ebenezer United Methodist Church MC. “We cannot continue to let the system remove our young men from our communities. Most important, we have to change the mindset of our young men who feel there is no hope and that no one cares about them.”



The U.S. is only five percent of the world’s population, but comprises 25 percent of the world’s incarcerated population. As a result, the U.S. has approximately 7.4 million people on parole, probation, in jails, prisons or under some other form of correctional supervision. There are currently over 2.2 million U.S. citizens in jails and prisons.

“This is the primary reason our men have united and selected this topic as our main focus for this retreat,” Moody said. “We are determined and will not stop until a positive difference has been made.”

The retreat’s sessions, according to the planning committee, are designed “to see how we as men can be involved in the lives of our young men in a supportive way through mentoring or providing scholarships and finances, so they can participate in programs that will assist in edifying them. We know that the problems are multifaceted and so we are starting with some tangible, preventive, means and methods.”

Presenters at the retreat include: Judge Orlando A. Prescott, administrative judge, Circuit Court, Juvenile Division; and representatives from the Teen Court, the 5000 Role Models of Excellence and Men of Tomorrow.

Dr. Joreatha Capers, pastor, Ebenezer UMC, says she is proud of the men of her church.

“This is a concerted effort to point our young men in more positive directions,” she said. “And we are committed to young men from the community with other organizations that can guide them. t miss this event,” Joreatha M.Capers, senior pastor of Ebenezer and Gregory Robinson, president of United Methodist Men said.

Ebenezer’s [2100 NW 36th Street] “Men’s Weekend for Justice” will take place on Saturday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. [lunch at noon] beginning with breakfast at 8 a.m. and morning worship on Sunday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. The scripture selected by the committee is Amos 5:24: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream.” Minister Gregory Robinson is the president of the United Methodist Men. Call 786-370-4405 for more information.