IMPACT Gearing Up For First Meeting

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

September 26, 2006

A unique organization in Charlottesville is gearing up to hold their first meeting Tuesday night. The goal is to bring together local churches to better bring about change in the community.

"Some of my colleagues were concerned about some of the injustices in our community," said Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Reverend Sam Massey.

Reverend Massey is hoping a group he is co-president of will have an impact on the Charlottesville area.

Interfaith Movement Promoting Action by Congregations Together, or IMPACT, brings together 21 different churches in the surrounding community.

"It's not just a few of us getting together and talking about what we think or observe. It is actually a grassroots movement, gathering people from all the different congregations and parts of town to talk together. From that venue there arise particular issues that we want to address," said Reverend Massey.

"I think this is one of the first times that in Charlottesville, congregations from so many backgrounds have come together," said Associate Pastor for Mission and Justice at First Presbyterian, Kimberly Wells. "Not only congregations of Christian faith, but Jewish as well as Muslim faiths."

The organization plans to use this diversity to bring attention to specific issues, such as homelessness, health care and wages. They will be doing research, then coming up with solutions to bring before local officials.

"There are specific issues that we truly believe can be solved if we can get people's attention; those who are in decision-making positions to make the right decisions to get these things done," said Reverend Massey.

IMPACT officials say they can't wait to get started.

"To actually be officially coming together as the IMPACT organization tonight, choosing our issues that we're going to do real research on in the coming year, and know that within about six months we'll have boiled down to some concrete solutions that we're going to bringing to local officials is very exciting," said Associate Pastor Wells.

IMPACT is set to pick two issues to focus on for the year.

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