Community forum to focus on public education

Published 4:14 pm Monday, March 7, 2022

SALISBURY — The faith community can do a wealth of things to help the schools, says the Rev. Dr. Vincent W. Howell, head of Hood Seminary’s Congregational Faith & Learning Center.

As the pastor of Centenary United Methodist Church in Clemmons, Howell has spearheaded a coalition of places of worship, businesses, schools and volunteers to meet students’ needs for clothing, specialized food, tutoring and career coaching.

The Interfaith Alliance of Lewisville-Clemmons, which he leads, has also organized a remote learning site for local students and helped sponsor a movie event, “Angst,” to start a conversation about stress and anxiety and their impact on children.

Howell will be one of two speakers a forum, “Covenant Community Connection: Supporting Public Education,” to be held 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 26, at First Presbyterian Church’s Lewis Hall.

The free forum is open to the public.

Also speaking will be the Rev. Suzanne Miller, executive director of Pastors for North Carolina Children. Miller will talk about Mission Amplify, a community-led letter-writing campaign that helps citizens communicate with state legislators about education issues. Lately Mission Amplify has drawn particular attention to the Leandro court decision regarding the constitutional requirement to provide all children with a sound basic education.

Miller, a Winston-Salem native who lives in Raleigh, is a Moravian minister who has also led United Methodist and Presbyterian congregations. She graduated from Meredith College, attended Duke Divinity School and received her masters of divinity degree from Moravian Theological Seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

She founded N.C. Families for School Testing Reform in 2018 and now serves as an adviser.

Howell has a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from North Carolina A & T and a master’s in organizational management from Salve Regina University. He completed a diploma in Biblical, Theological, and Ministerial Studies from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and his Doctor of Ministry is from Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, Michigan.

Advance registration is not required for the event. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served.

Covenant Community Connection collaborates with the faith community to plan and enact dialog circles, workshops and forums to achieve greater diversity, inclusion and social equity in Salisbury and Rowan County. It is part of the city’s Human Relations Council.

First Presbyterian Church is located at 308 W. Fisher St. The parking lot adjacent to Lewis Hall is in the 300 block of West Innes Street.