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October is Unity Month

Posted: October 12, 2017 4:55 p.m.
Updated: October 13, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford (front, right) shows off a proclamation naming October as Unity Month in Camden as she presents it to Ernestine Adams of Camden Second Presbyterian Church. The church began holding a unity-themed service five years ago, but has now expanded its activities to the entire month and invited the community to participate. Looking on are (back row, from left) council members Deborah Davis, Stephen Smoak and Joanna Craig.

Camden City Council unanimously proclaimed, with Councilman Jeffrey Graham absent, October as Unity Month in Camden during its meeting on Tuesday evening.

Although this is the first Unity Month proclamation, there has been a celebration of unity in Camden for five years at Camden Second Presbyterian Church, according to Ernestine Adams, who accepted the proclamation from Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford.

“This year is different,” Adams said. “We have asked the city to consider every (week) in October to be proclaimed (together) as Unity Month. And we would expect that people in the community to respect themselves and others. We also would expect everyone to realize that it takes a village, but it also takes attention to create a village.”

Camden Second Presbyterian started celebrating Unity Month this year on Oct. 1 with a service that emphasized peace, unity and compassion.

On Monday, the church will observe World Food Day by delivering food contributions to a host agency that are being collected through Sunday. On Wednesday, the church will host “One Day of Prayer,” opening the doors to its sanctuary from noon to 1 p.m. and again from 6 to 7 p.m. so that anyone who wants to can come in and pray for peace, justice and unity.

On Sunday, Oct. 22, Second Presbyterian will observe the National Children’s Sabbath” and the “Educate a Child” initiative. According to information Adams provided, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. has been working with the Children’s Defense Fund to support educational advocacy around the world. By working with various partners, the goal is provide quality education to 1 million children by 2020. Camden Second Presbyterian adopted Jackson school and made a $500 “Unity Award” to establish the school’s new M. Andres James Library Club. The club ensures each club member receives a book at the end of the school year to keep. During the observance, at 10 a.m. Oct. 22, Jackson Principal Matia Goodwin is scheduled to report on the club’s activities.

On Tuesday, Oct. 24, the church will hold its annual revival service at 6:30 p.m. with the Rev. Connie Barnes of Rehoboth United Methodist Church of Columbia. There will be special music provided by the Sanders Creek Baptist Church Male Choir.

“Make a Difference Day” will be Saturday, Oct. 28 -- a national community service day observed during which residents are encouraged to do something, large or small, to make a positive difference in the community.

Finally, Unity Month will wrap up on Sunday, Oct. 29 with a “Unity Matters!” message at 3:30 p.m. delivered by Thomas E. Holliday Sr., who works in the S.C. Attorney General’s Office. There will also be music by Sam Dennis, of Abundant Life Church, and Brenda Pogue of Columbia.

According to Tuesday’s proclamation, the “community’s success depends on making sure that all Camden residents and other members of the community feel welcome. Regardless of race, gender, creed or country of origin, we are joined in values of hard work and shared opportunity.”

The proclamation further says that the “contributions, spirit of unity and spirit of entrepreneurship of all people are vital part of the community -- bringing fresh perspectives and new ideas, starting businesses and contributing to the vibrant diversity that we all value.” It goes on to say that in a 21st century economy, Camden “must capitalize on diverse perspectives, cultures and talents as the most valuable assets in an economy where knowledge, creativity and innovation reap the greatest benefits.” This, in turn, would make the community a more welcoming one, bringing in more customers for local businesses and jobs created by entrepreneurship.

“By welcoming the contributions that we all make to create a vibrant culture and a growing economy, we make our community more prosperous and more inclusive to all who call it home,” according to the proclamation.

In other business Tuesday:

• Camden Deputy Fire Chief Phil Elliott and Historic Camden Executive Director Haile Brazier reported on the recently completed Revolutionary Run Half Marathon, calling it a success. Elliott noted this was the first time the streets and police departments have blocked off as much of Broad and DeKalb streets as was necessary to hold the race. They reported that approximately 260 runners, including 70 from Kershaw County, participated in the race. One hundred and eight-two runners were from out of town, Elliott said, representing 25 cities in nine states in addition to South Carolina. Elliott said runners tend to be a vocal group and that the city -- especially the Camden Police Department -- received many accolades. He said while there were some runners who expressed a need for more water stops, they appreciated the race and the chance to see the city and meet its residents. In fact, Elliott said many community members came out of their homes and voluntarily gave snacks and water to the runners. Brazier said the race took in just under $10,000 in sponsorships and generated a net income of about $9,200. She said they have already let runners know the half marathon will be back next -- with an added 5K component -- on the last Saturday of September 2018. Brazier said organizers hope that with the additional 5K, the event will attract 500 participants, nearly double this year’s. “This was just a totally new idea, it was a gamble, but I think that it really paid off,” Brazier said.

• Deputy Public Works Director Ray Peterson provided an update to changes at the city’s drinking water treatment plant. Peterson said those changes are 90 percent complete and include replacing a gas chlorination system with one using sodium hypochlorite -- a type of concentrated bleach that is safer to maintain that the gas system -- that came online in September. He said customers should not have noticed any difference. There is also a powdered activated carbon system is being installed in order to provide the plant a greater capacity to address taste and odor issues that sometimes arise during warmer months. That system is expected to be cleared to go online during the next week or so with portions of the entire upgrade completed by the end of November.

• Peterson also spoke in advance of a proclamation made by council that named Thursday as “Imagine a Day Without Water.” Peterson said the day was being set aside for people to gain a better understanding of the value and importance of a clean water supply. He asked those in attendance to imagine there was no water to drink, use to flush away wastes, assist hospitals with treating patients or to take a shower. Peterson said there are some communities in America that have already dealt with such experiences. Council unanimously passed the proclamation.

• Council unanimously proclaimed October as Alpha Delta Kappa Month. The organization, founded in 1947, is an international honorary sorority for women educators. The proclamation notes that ADK’s local Alpha Psi Chapter contributes to Kershaw County Relay for Life, Special Olympics, Christian Ministries and the United Way of Kershaw County’s New Day on Mill.

• Council unanimously passed second reading of an ordinance approving the rezoning of 23.3 acres on Campbell Street stretching to Ehrenclou Drive from general business district to R-6; and first reading of an ordinance that would reduce 90 feet of right of way on Wateree Street to 45 feet, thereby granting 22.5 feet of property to adjacent landowners.

• Council unanimously passed second reading of an ordinance amending certain articles of the city’s zoning ordinance.

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