The Rev. Ramelle McCall and the people of Holy Trinity in west Baltimore

Yesterday a press release announced the appointment by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and, in consultation with members of the Joint Standing Committee on Planning and Arrangements, of the chair and two vice chairs for the General Convention 2021 Worship Committee. The Diocese of Maryland’s urban missioner and rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity, west Baltimore, the Rev. Ramelle McCall, has agreed to serve a vice chair of this important committee. Ramelle is a native of west Baltimore and is proud to serve in the neighborhood he grew up in. He serves on the Interim Body Addressing the State of the Church. That committee, appointed by President of the House of Deputies, Gay Jennings, has been asked to “to fulfill Resolution 2018-A053, which directs the design of a new parochial report ’relevant to the diversity of the Episcopal Church’s participation in God’s mission in the world.’

Paying careful attention to the importance to the sense of place of the site of General Convention, chair of the Worship Committee, the Rev. Mark Furlow, reached out to the Diocese of Maryland. He wanted to find the right person to help the committee plan authentic worship experiences that will engage the wider Church in the community where they are meeting. According to Ramelle, west Baltimore is a disenfranchised community, a marginalized neighborhood. “West Baltimore is one of the most violent parts of the city. It has the highest level of homicide, a large amount of poverty, it faces the opioid crisis, food deserts, and so many people not having the full assistance they need. There are fewer commercial businesses in west Baltimore because of these issues. It’s a tough area day in and day out for God’s children. This is the area that was politicized – deemed rat infested. Public perception seems to be that this is a hopeless neighborhood that hasn’t gotten over the Freddie gray uprising.”

Part of Ramelle’s specific task on the Worship Committee is to bring the Church to west Baltimore, to show the Church the beauty and the suffering. “Having a great cloud of witnesses and the prophetic voice of Bishop Curry, who served as rector of historic St. James’ Episcopal Church in west Baltimore, will really speak truth to power,” he says. I believe in the Church and that God is doing great things in our Church. In some way or another we, as the body of Christ, can, in a short period of time (at General Convention) demonstrate that we are not only a part of the Jesus movement but that we are so ready to meet people where they are and be the presence of Christ right then and there.” This is an invitation, he says, and all are welcome to meet Christ in their neighbor in west Baltimore.

As urban missioner for the Diocese of Maryland, Ramelle works with politicians, the police department and many other community partners to help west Baltimore become an area of revitalization. He remarks that more people need to come work with us in relationship in our neighborhoods. His goal is to demonstrate the long-lasting force and faith of the Church and that the Church will help. “God’s children are crying out like the prophets have decreed in the past. This is an area that needs the Church and all that it entails and then some.”