Catholic Relief and order of nuns join to aid Angola

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Emmitsburg-based order of nuns founded by St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and Baltimore-based Catholic Relief Services have formed a partnership to manage a hospital in war-ravaged Angola intended to provide medical care for an African community of 40,000.

The Roman Catholic relief agency's agreement with the Daughters of Charity National Health System marks the first time that CRS has entered into a contract with an arm of a U.S. religious order to provide medical services overseas.

Sisters from the order's health system will staff the Balombo Hospital in the Benguela Province of Angola. A team of three nurses is due to arrive at the hospital next Friday, when it will begin to train its Angolan workers.

Under the agreement, CRS and the Daughters of Charity will provide logistics, equipment, medicines and other supplies for the next three years.

Kenneth Hackett, Catholic Relief Services' executive director, said, "The Daughters of Charity National Health System is one of the largest Catholic health care providers in the U.S. By marshaling our forces, we can deliver a superior measure of expertise and spiritual commitment to provide quality, compassionate care to the suffering people of Balombo."

Speaking for the Daughters of Charity at their Emmitsburg headquarters, Sister Virginia Ann Brooks said, "CRS has a philosophy of integrity and compassion similar to our own. The partnership strengthens our mission and will help us to do more to relieve the suffering of people living in the most ravaged areas of the world."

CRS employees have worked in Angola for more than six years. Since November, their activities in Balombo have included distribution of food to malnourished children, many of them orphans, and to the elderly.

Faith and politics

The Baltimore Jewish Council and 17 other local Jewish organizations, including six synagogues, have scheduled an open forum Monday evening to hear the views of the candidates for Baltimore mayor and comptroller.

Monday's free public program beginning at 7 p.m. at Baltimore Hebrew University, 5800 Park Heights Ave., will be the first of two at which a panel of community leaders will question city politicians. At the same time and place Aug. 28, candidates for council president and the council's 5th District will be

interviewed.

Focus on youth

The Rev. Clarence L. James, founder and president of Youth Leadership Development Programs Inc. in Atlanta, will preach on "The Whole Duty of Man" at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Huber Memorial United Church of Christ, which has moved to its new location at 5701 York Road in Govans.

& Information: 435-1496.

Invitation to sing

Invitation to sing: Eastside Church of Christ at 900 Martin Blvd. in Middle River has invited the public to join its congregation in a joyful "areawide singing" of hymns at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

"Some outstanding song directors from sister congregations throughout the area will gather to lead the assembly in singing hymns and spiritual songs," a church spokesman said. Information: 686-6665.

Membership losses

According to new figures reported by United Methodist News Service, 56,520 United Methodists left their church in 1994, a slightly smaller loss than in 1993.

The second highest drop last year was in the church's Baltimore-Washington Conference, which reported that 3,844 members had left. The West Ohio Conference lost 5,053 members.

The conservative, evangelical "Good News" group within the United Methodist Church contends that the membership declines can be traced to the top leadership of the denomination, for whom "political correctness is seen as having more value than doctrine."

Defending expansion

In letters this week to members of Pikesville's Beth Tfiloh Congregation, Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg has sought to defuse LTC community opposition to a proposed 152-unit housing project for the elderly on the synagogue's Old Court Road property.

"The Beth Tfiloh senior housing will bring young and old together. Our children are our future. Our parents are our purpose," Rabbi Wohlberg said, citing "the need to provide an

active, intergenerational setting."

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