CAPS tackles poverty discussion

Published 11:08 pm Monday, May 14, 2018

The Coalition Against Poverty in Suffolk is hosting a city-wide fellowship at Westminster Church at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to speak about the role of churches in addressing poverty.

Dr. Antipas Harris will be the speaker for the fellowship. Harris currently resides in Hampton Roads and has founded the Urban Renewal Center and GIELD Inc. in Norfolk. Harris has already spoken about the church’s role with poverty, and that was what led CAPS to have him as a speaker.

“He is a speaker of high caliber. We heard him speak and we decided we really liked him,” said Hayden Blythe, president of CAPS and director of Hope for Suffolk. “He understands the nature of different community needs and the need for it to be a community effort. He’s a local activist, pastor and counselor. Between his experience and his speaking ability, we are excited about him.”

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The mission of the fellowship is to help churches understand that they can be more effective at solving the underlying problems of poverty.

“Churches are absolutely more effective in our city when we work together, and we invite them to join the city-wide effort of churches to specifically address poverty,” Blythe said.

While CAPS handles the surface issues with poverty and homelessness, the churches can provide a more sustainable solution to the problems.

“CAPS is the emergency room, and when people go through crisis like a car breaking down, a storm or job loss, we handle those issues on the surface, but we direct them to churches that can connect them to services,” Blythe said.

Churches are more equipped to help provide services and resources — physical therapy, tutors, finance mentors, Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous — to meet the long-term needs of those suffering.

CAPS is a nonprofit organization that is ultimately a coalition of churches. Rather than churches attempting to alleviate the problems individually, CAPS gives churches an outlet to work together and provide solutions more effectively.

The organization is a Christian group, but that doesn’t exclude anyone from helping the cause. CAPS hopes to see more than just church leadership at the fellowship event.

“This will all be Christian based, but we don’t require that,” Blythe said.

After Dr. Harris speaks, guests are invited to a fellowship at the church.

“I hope we stop seeing Sunday as a segregated time in the community and see churches look like the united kingdom that will be the body of Christ one day,” Blythe said.

The event will be held at Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church, 3488 Godwin Blvd. Those wishing to attend can RSVP to info@capsuffolk.org.