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Corner 2 Corner conference designed to help wayward folk

Sam Youse, left, and Willie Blue were two former graduates of the conference who now own their own businesses.

Corner 2 Corner conference designed to help wayward folk
November 23
04:00 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey

BY TIMOTHY RAMSEY 

THE CHRONICLE

“Your Lives Matter” is the theme of this year’s Corner 2 Corner Drug Dealers and Street Life Conference at Union Baptist Church.

The conference ran from Thursday, Nov. 17 to Sunday, Nov. 20, when the participants participated in a graduation ceremony following Sunday’s worship service.

Union Baptist Senior Pastor Bishop Sir Walter L. Mack says he initially thought of holding the conference years ago because he witnessed a young man making a drug  deal right after the church service ended.

He said he called a meeting with former drug dealers at the church and they came together and thought of the idea of the conference at the initial conference, there were over 140 drug dealers who attended. The conference has been held for the last 13 years.

During the conference, there were a myriad of activities, seminars and workshops along with numerous guest speakers.  One of the workshops, led by Pastor Kevin Sturdivant, senior pastor of Grooms Chapel Baptist Church in Reidsville, was based on “Living Beyond the Labels.”

Sturdivant spoke about how individuals are labeled by others and themselves.  He wanted to show people how they can live beyond what others have labeled them as.  He told the audience that they have to deconstruct the labels and recognize how they have been harmful in their lives.  He said “The most important label in life is the one God has placed on you.”

There were other workshops, such as how to deescalate a situation when approached by a police-man, messages from individuals who have come through the program and successfully changed their lives and a word from District Court Judge-elect Carrie Vickery, to name a few.

One of the presenters was Alphonsa Mabry, who touched on financial education.

Mabry is known from an online video that went viral as it showed he was followed and stopped by a policeman in an upscale neighborhood while on the way to one of the proper-ties he owns in Trinity, N.C.  The officer did not believe he owned the property and followed Mabry to the property, where the officer was shown Mabry did in fact own the property.

Following this video, Mabry was invited to be a guest on the Steve Harvey show to talk about the incident along with his financial plan of flipping properties.  Mabry happened to run into Bishop Mack on a plane, and the relationship grew from there.

“What I’m looking to do is put an end to the excuses,” Mabry said.  “No more relying on the government and if you want it, it’s out here.  Every problem has a solution, and I want to address the solution.  If they are out here to make money, how can we meet them where they are today?”

Many individuals who have come through the conference come back year after year. Deborah Lipscomb, a graduate of the conference, said she gets strength and love every time she comes back.

“No matter what you have been through, you can make a change,” Lipscomb said.  “I used to be out there in the streets, and I know a lot of things about drugs. It took strength and hope and Christ’s love to change me. My strength really came when I stepped into Union Baptist Church and accepting Christ and the church has embraced me.”

Willie Blue and Sam Youse were in the life on the streets when they attended the conference. After graduating from the conference, they now own their own businesses.  Blue owns his own moving company and Youse owns a car detailing business.

“I was married for 13 years but I got caught up in the streets and hanging around the wrong people drinking and drugging, which led me to lose everything that I had,” Blue said. “I wound up in the rescue mission and I started coming to Union Baptist every day.  I give God all the praise and just thank Pastor Mack for this conference.”

Youse added “I wasn’t in the streets, I came to the streets.  I was loving the streets more than I was loving God, and I let the streets determine my character but I didn’t let it grab my integrity.  I was living in the shelter and I came to Union because I was hungry and Bishop Mack reconstructed my life where I wanted to go.”

After absorbing what the conference had to offer, those who completed the program were honored with a cap and gown ceremony following Union Baptist’s Sunday worship service.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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