Sustaining Campus and Community Dialogue Series
by: Christine Parisi
by: Christine Parisi
On Tuesday March 26th, an event was held at the Frostburg Lyric Theatre entitled, Sustaining Campus and Community Dialogue Series, which spoke of how the University and the community work together by building and strengthening relationships to make Frostburg a better place. Dr. Elesha Ruminski, Chair and Associate Professor of Communication Studies opened the event by welcoming everyone and inviting them to take part in food and conversation. Dr. Ruminski then introduced Dr. Marvin Johnson, founder and executive director of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution, to the floor.
Dr. Marvin’s comforting words led the evening to a great start when he highlighted the importance of “recognizing our connective-ness.” He goes on to say that we are all connected somehow and not one person is better than another. Therefore, we must come together as a community and assist one another.
Speakers from the event included members from Frostburg’s “faith community”; those of which were Pastor Tim Smith, senior pastor of the Frostburg Church of the Nazarene; Pastor Everett Spence, senior pastor at God’s Ark of Safety; and Ken Fisher, president of Neighborhood Friends Care. Each spoke on what their church and organization is doing to reach out to the community.
Pastor Tim Smith explained how his church is involved in child sponsorship, children school packs, school and after school programs, water projects, hospitals, health care clinics, and disaster relief, which includes sending out packages of clothes and food to people in need. Pastor Tim states, “Disaster response can help us many times overlook our personal conflicts by joining together with other people on a common cause.”
Pastor Everett Spence of Frostburg’s God’s Ark of Safety began his introduction agreeing with Dr. Johnson by saying “I appreciated so much what Marvin had to say, about the community and how we are all attached to one another because through the church we really realize that”. God’s Ark of Safety supports seventeen different “missional” groups, ten of which are overseas and the remaining seven residing locally. The local groups include, Salem’s Children’s Trust, The Union Rescue Mission, Calvary Christian Academy, Tri-State Teen Challenge, First Way Pregnancy Center, Covenant Counseling, and He’s Alive Radio. Pastor Spence emphasized the importance of children and family. “Children are the future,” he stated. The church hopes to add “healing rooms” and additional daycare facilities. Pastor Spence closed by stating the recent contact he had with Teen Challenge, which approached him with the idea of starting a “celebrate recovery program,” which will aid those in addictions recovery.
Last from the faith community was Ken Fisher of Neighborhood Friends Care, an organization that started roughly six years ago with a concern that people were not getting the care and assistance they needed or deserved. Neighborhood Friends Care is a faith based ministry that was once envisioned to be lead by a network of caring people from the churches. The organization was originally under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church but since then has moved under the umbrella of the foundation of Frostburg. Neighborhood Friends Care helps elders and people in need by mowing lawns, raking leaves, or simply just by being a comrade to the lonely.
The organization is seeking out students from Frostburg State University in order to reach out even more to members of the community. Mr. Fisher’s concluding remarks were, “We just want to help people, and we need people to help people.”
A few other organizations followed the ministers,” including the Building Relationships Group, Discovering Western Maryland, and Pride at Frostburg, each with new and uplifting ideas to help strengthen and build a better community.
By the end of the event many of the community members and students were excited and optimistic about the ideas presented.
Dr. Marvin Johnson, founder and executive director of the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution.