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Strawberry Festival 2022 Donation Recipient

Freedom Rising Initiative
Strawberry Festival 2022 Final 3.JPG

Pastor Jodi attended seminary with a young African American man by the name of Eugene Blackwell. He grew up in an urban community and would speak of the despair in young African American males and how that led to them falling victim to gangs, violence, and drugs.


Eugene was able to escape the streets, go to seminary, and begin a ministry for at-risk young black men. He created the Freedom Rising Initiative aimed at developing programs that would keep youth off the streets before the streets came to claim them.


In 2013, Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell was diagnosed with bone cancer. On the floor of Presbytery 6 years ago, standing on one leg (bone cancer had taken the other), he asked for help in keeping his dream alive. Specifically, the development of pilot programs to assist African American males in five cities… one of them being Pittsburgh. Eugene Blackwell died in 2016 at the age of 42, but his Freedom Rising Initiative is living on through the Pittsburgh Presbytery.


Today, according to the Presbytery website, “The Freedom Rising Initiative is unapologetically Jesus focused in its mission and ministry to uplift African American males, focusing on the areas of evangelism & discipleship, justice & reconciliation, and servant leader formation.”


The Session of Rennerdale Church is happy to announce that 100% of the donations received for the upcoming Strawberry Festival will be given to the Freedom Rising Initiative in memory of Eugene “Freedom” Blackwell.


We invite everyone to come out to Rennerdale Church this Saturday, June 11th to enjoy all your favorite Strawberry Festival traditions, to fellowship with your neighbors, family and friends and to support this very worthy cause.

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