Each year Ames Memorial United Methodist Church hold a back-to-school bash for students returning to the classroom. (Courtesy Photo)

By Marnita Coleman, Special to the AFRO

As summer vacation comes to a close, Ames Memorial United Methodist Church in Sandtown made sure students were prepared with their annual back-to-school bash. 

Senior Pastor Rev. Rodney Hudson was excited to see more than 200-300 bookbags and school supplies donated to students a few days before the start of school.

“This event is important because it is the kick-off for our kids to have a great school year; not only are they armed with prayer, but prepared for the first day of class,” said Hudson. “Our faith partners along with community volunteers help make it a successful occasion.”

The event is a labor of love for Hudson, who faces a multitude of challenges as a servant to the community. Through it all, Hudson keeps to his his goal of improving Baltimore any way he can. 

“There is a great need for economic empowerment in our community,” reflects Hudson.

The supplies given out help students and lift a financial burden off of parents of school aged children.

Almost 40 years ago, Rev. Dr. Kay F. Albury, pastor of Ames Memorial United Methodist Church at the time, dreamed of revitalizing the Sandtown community with job creation, workforce development, and youth programs that would sustain a thriving community. 

The baton was passed to Rev. Hudson in what he called a slow cooker. Nonetheless, he agreed that 1 Cor. 16:9 speaks to the recent experience, “there is a wide-open door for a great work here, although many oppose me.”

In May 2022 the owners of the Northeastern Supply Company held a transfer-of-property ceremony at the corner of  Pennsylvania Avenue and Baker Street.

According to previous AFRO reporting, CEO Steve Cook transfered the building to the church to become a dynamic community resource hub.

Rev. Hudson knows when the stakes are high, there is a price to pay. He said that different community leaders and clergy have come against the vision of Resurrection Sandtown. 

Rev. Hudson says the naysayers and spiritual and even physical attacks against him are “merely symptomatic of the valley of dry bones as recorded in Ezekiel 37. God asked, ‘Son of man can these bones live?’ As we look to this major project, God is breathing life into the dry bones of this community by gifting us with Northeastern Supply, providing the faith seed of $400,000 from Bishop Latrelle Easterling, leader of the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church, a community partnership with Maryland Institute College of Art, and the Faith-Based Development Initiative.” 

“This opportunity will change lives. We’re talking about building spaces where entrepreneurs can start their businesses on Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s our hope in 5-6 years we will see something developing, like the foot bone connecting to the ankle bone, a bulldozer connecting to scaffolding. The focus is not on the building– it’s on the lives. And, the breath is the hope of it all coming together.” 

Hudson continued, saying “Resurrection Sandtown is not a band-aid solution like our annual outreaches, namely, the bookbag, school-supplies giveaway, the Thanksgiving food baskets given to over 250 families, or the 25 families we adopt at Christmas with gifts and food for up to 10 members in a home.”

“You cannot treat cancer by putting a band-aid on it. Sometimes with cancer, you have to use chemotherapy, which may cause good cells to die with bad cells,” Hudson told the AFRO. “In other words, some of the good we’ve done in the past, we can’t hold onto in terms of building. We have to give way to those things that are in the past, so we can build new things that will benefit us 100 years from now, like Resurrection Sandtown,” declared Rev. Hudson.

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