Bethel in the News

Below you will find past articles highlighting Bethel’s role in various Social Justice activities and other events.

The Doors of the Church are Open: Bethel AME Church-Boston Shelters Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation – 2017



The Bethel AME Church in Boston, Massachusetts, recently opened its doors as a sanctuary church for a man from El Salvador who is facing deportation by the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency. Given the theological and social connections, the decision was a simple one for the congregation. “’Take care of the foreigner among you’ is in there [the bible] so many times. Anything that God repeats a lot of times should be where the Christian church is putting their priority,” said the Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, the pastor of social justice at Bethel-Boston.


“Put the Fire under Us” Church spurs Parishioners to plan for Illness and Death – 2017



“It would feel like murder to pull her life support,” a young woman tells the doctor.

The woman sits by a hospital bed where her mother, Selena, lies unresponsive, hooked up to a breathing tube. The daughter has already made one attempt to save her mother’s life; she pulled Selena out of the car and performed CPR when her heart stopped en route to the hospital — an experience she calls “beyond terrifying.”

Now the doctor tells the family Selena will never wake up in a meaningful way. But the daughter says she can’t let her mother go: “I’m always looking for another miracle.”

GBIO rally at the State House for Criminal Justice Reform – 2017



The Greater Boston Interfaith Organization leads a rally at the Massachusetts State House before a crucial vote on a criminal justice reform package by the House of Representatives. Report for BNN News. Aired November 13, 2017.


Breaking Down the Barriers Between Medicine and Spirituality – 2017 Conversation Project


Reverend Gloria White-Hammond wasn’t sure what to expect.

How many members of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Jamaica Plain (a neighborhood of Boston) would want to spend their evening talking about their end-of-life care wishes?

White-Hammond recalls, “I anticipated that we might get 10, maybe 20 people” for the first Conversation Project workshop. To her surprise, over 40 people attended. Even now, after two years, “people who didn’t join the first go around are starting to come as they’ve heard about it or as circumstances in their lives have changed.”

Senate President supports Criminal Justice Reforms -2017

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Last December, activists briefly disrupted a meeting of legislative leaders in protest of a criminal justice reform push they said wouldn’t go far enough to ameliorate racial disparities in sentencing and reduce the number of non-violent offenders serving hard time.
In January, Second Suffolk District Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz called out legislative leadership during a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial breakfast in which she made a forceful plea for action on substantive reforms.

At Church, Confronting an Ugly Election – 2016 Boston Globe


The Sunday service at Bethel A.M.E. Church, in Jamaica Plain, began with a bright surge of gospel music that seemed to push away the anxiety of this election season for a time. But just for a time.

“I can’t remember the last time I was so anxious for an event — in this case the election — to be over,” said the Rev. Ray Hammond, shortly after taking the pulpit, to a sprinkling of “mm-hmms.”

All the scandal, deception, and sexual impropriety had left him with a feeling of nausea, he said. All the racial stereotypes, high-priced speeches, and innuendo had left the country with a nasty stench.

“The country of which I am a part,” he said, “smells awful.”

After DNC Speech, Pastor leads hundreds in Local Social Justice Service – 2016 Boston Globe


On the heels of his rousing speech last week at the Democratic National Convention, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II led hundreds of people Monday evening at the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in a wide-ranging service focused on inequality in America.

“The first word of the constitution is ‘We,’ ” said Barber to cheers and laughter. “It is a suggestion that you can’t have a country with just one person.”

A North Carolina political leader and NAACP national board member, Barber was part of a slate of faith-based speakers that painted a portrait of a troubled nation with a political climate that is dividing the country. During the program, several local residents delivered emotional accounts on income inequity, environmentalism, access to education, and criminal justice.

“You and I will not be able to go away from this place and do business as usual,” said Barber, who emceed the program.

Interfaith Jamaica Plain gathering Decries Violence,

Prays for Healing -2016 Boston Globe


More than 100 people gathered at a Jamaica Plain church Wednesday night for an interfaith prayer vigil, asking for healing and unity following tragic gun violence in Orlando, Boston, and elsewhere.

Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clergy led the crowd at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in prayer for the victims of last weekend’s rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando, this year’s homicide victims in Boston, and the nine worshippers killed last June at a church in Charleston, S.C.

“We extended our deepest condolences” to the families of the 49 Orlando victims, said Sheik Yasir Fahmy of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center.