A forum at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Saturday, “Unmasked: The Real Church Revealed to Be Healed,” will visit some topics not normally discussed in church.

Pastor Elaine Gray of Swiftown Missionary Baptist Church, who is also a bail bondsman in Greenwood at Pugh Bail Bonds, said she saw a need for some truth-telling that might help explain why young people turn away from church.

“We’re going to talk about layaway women, the ones men have laying around waiting for them,” Gray said. “We’ll talk about sex and the single saint, those women whose religious beliefs clash with the realities of their lives.

“We’re going to talk about saints with sinner problems.”

Gray said she is one of those sinners who has messed up and “everybody in Greenwood knows it.” But the god she believes in, she said, is “a forgiving and restorative God.

“If we keep masking our own problems, because we believe we’re going to be punished for them, if we keep lying about our shortcomings, how can we help anybody else?”

Numerous other clergy will be joining Gray at the event, which begins with a discussion panel at 10 a.m. and continues with speakers at noon and 4 p.m., including Proph-etess Stephanie Sanders of Greenwood, Prophetess Charice Adams of Jackson, Pastor Lisa Day of Belzoni, Apostle Eureka Martin of Memphis and others.

Gray also plans to convene a panel of young men from the streets of Greenwood to talk about their lives. Some of these young men, she said, have told her they don’t come to church because people are judgmental and mean to them.

“We need to talk about why we, as Christians, are losing our kids to the streets, about what they’re not getting that they need.”

Gray said the event is for everyone, especially anyone who has experienced hurt, disillusion or confusion at the intersection of faith and life. Friendship M.B. Church is at 220 Noel St. in Greenwood.

Contact Kathryn Eastburn at 581-7235 or keastburn@gwcommonwealth.com.

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