Teaching the Ten Commandments

The Rev. Joseph Parker, pastor of Greenwood’s Turner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, standing at right, teaches a group of children about the Ten Commandments at the Boys and Girls Club.

A pastor in Greenwood is on a mission to promote the principles of the Ten Commandments in an effort to address problems among youth.

The Rev. Joseph Parker, pastor of Turner Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, 719 Walthall St., started a Ten Commandments project last month.

Every Tuesday at the Boys and Girls Club in Greenwood, Parker and a group of volunteers teach a group of about 15 children the Ten Commandments. Movie clips, music videos and other forms of media are used to help illustrate the meaning of the commandments.

“We have these T-shirts that have the Ten Commandments written on the back” and other Scripture written on the front, Parker said.

Any student who is able to remember the commandments is rewarded with a T-shirt.

The point is to plant “the seed of God’s words in the hearts and minds of children,” Parker said.

“We see the problems of shootings, other kinds of problems teens are getting into,” he said. He sees the project “as a very serious and a very fruitful way to respond to these types of tragedies.”

Parker was inspired by James Meredith, who in 1962 became the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi.

Meredith also planned a solo 220-mile trek from Memphis to Jackson in 1966 to protest racism in the South. His participation in the march was terminated when a white gunman shot and wounded him during the second day. The march was continued by numerous other African Americans, and Meredith was eventually able to re-join it.

Meredith told the Associated Press last year that learning the commandments can combat the society’s “breakdown of moral character.”

Parker took to heart Meredith’s words and began the Ten Commandments teaching project in Tupelo a couple of years ago at that city’s Boys and Girls Club.

This year’s project in Greenwood, the city’s first, will wrap up in about three weeks, Parker said. However, he would like to reignite it again.

He also encourages anyone interested in starting a Ten Commandments project at another  church to do so. Ultimately, he said, he’d like to reach out to as many youth as possible.

For more information about the project, Parker can be reached on his  cellphone at 662-321-5859 or at work at 662-844-5036, ext. 381.

Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

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