BALTIMORE — Much has changed in Baltimore as well as around the country since 1962. The more than half-century period has realized great ups and downs from the assassination of black leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to the successful campaign and re-election of the nation’s first black president, Barack Obama.
Through it all the Douglas Memorial Community Church has remained consistent as it continues to change lives, build legacies and empower the many women who have walked through the hallowed halls of that place of worship.
The church is well known for its women’s ministry, which was the focus of its recent Women’s Day Celebration that included interpretive dancing by young parishioners and a keynote address by Pamela J. Meanes, the president of the National Bar Association.
“This is what I do, no [it’s] who I am. My profession,” said Meanes, a partner in the St. Louis, Missouri law firm of Thompson Coburn LLP. “My calling, [however], is the ministry.”
The church’s Women’s Christian Fellowship— or women’s ministry— also counts as the official women’s group of the International Council of Community Churches. The group is heavily involved in the activities of the international council as well as its national mission. It stands ready to assist other ministries in the church and each adult female at Douglas Memorial Community Church is automatically enrolled as a member of the Women’s Ministry.
The Women’s Day event was part of Women’s Month 2015, in which the church hosted a jazz brunch on May 9 featuring The Marcus Lansey Jazz Quartet. The month also featured a “Call to Service Week,” and a “Women’s Chew and Chat Study,” in which women featured in the bible were the topic of discussion.
The distinguished women also took time out to remember the leadership of Dr. Marion C. Bascom, a civil rights leader who served as pastor for 46 years at Douglas Memorial Community Church before his death three years ago at the age of 87.
“Reverend Bascom worked alongside Dr. King during the Civil Rights era and continued his advocacy during his tenure at the Fire Department,” said long-time parishioner, Beverly Reid.
During her keynote address, Meanes noted the importance of the church during the fight for civil rights. She said she is the product of a generation not afraid to call out injustice.
“The fight for injustice is the right thing to do,” she said calling herself an instrument of justice”…a “social engineer,” fighting for justice and equality for everyone.”