Faith Leaders Learn to Build Communities of Wealth – Lasentinel

Rev. Dr. D. Najuma Smith-Pollard (Courtesy photo)

USC Cecil Murray Center sponsors session for clergy and lay to outline steps to teaching parishioners financial literacy

Faith leaders can play a decisive role in helping African Americans and other minorities become financially secure and the USC Cecil Murray Center for Community Engagement is preparing clergy and lay to achieve that goal.

Through online interactive sessions, the Murray Center outlines the steps that pastors and faith-based influencers can take to educate their members. The series kicked-off on November 3 with a webinar entitled, “Building Back Wealth in Communities of Color” and scores of people tuned in for the class.

The Rev. Dr. D. Najuma Smith-Pollard, CMCCE program manager and pastor of Word of Encouragement Community Church in L.A., moderated the 90-minute event, which was co-sponsored by CIT-One West Bank. The program also included the Rev. Frank Jackson, CEO of The Group of Village Companies in Irvine and a corporate financial executive with 20-years of experience; and the Rev. Donald Cook II, pastor of Harvest Tabernacle Bible Church in L.A., who holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in business and management.

As part of CMCCE’s ongoing effort to equip faith leaders to transform underserved areas, Smith-Pollard explained that the session would focus on “elevating your community” through strategies on economic recovery and wealth building. The panelists also shared practical actions that could yield significant results for churches and organizations.

“Last year, the Murray Center hosted sessions around how to financially maintain [ministries] during the pandemic. Now, we want to begin to talk about building back wealth and how the faith community can take lead in teaching communities of color how to prepare for the future,” she said in her introductory remarks.

“We also want to encourage you to think critically how this information can be shared with your congregation or the people you serve,” added Smith-Pollard, acknowledging that nonprofit and faith-based groups could impart the strategies to their constituents as well.

“Remember, your people are your number one asset. When they are strong, the church or organization is strong,” she insisted. Following her comments, the Rev. Dr. Cecil L. “Chip” Murray delivered a brief welcome address.

Rev. Frank Jackson (Courtesy photo)

Next, Jackson opened the first section of the program by discussing the state of wealth across demographic groups and the definition of wealth as perceived by different age groups and ethnicities. Emphasizing that his goal was to persuade people to be responsible stewards, he then proceeded to cite the facts and principles that assist with wealth building.

“The difference between your assets minus your liabilities equals wealth. …….