Church life

Church life
photo by Kevin Kalunian


Messiah Baptist Church is one of the oldest and most active African-American churches in Brockton, Massachusetts. From youth programs to financial investment groups, the church finds new ways to engage members across generations.
Community service is the foundation of both the church and the members, a quiet tradition spanning decades.
Journalism students at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, enrolled in Advanced Newswriting and Reporting taught by Prof. Maureen Boyle in the Spring of 2016, highlighted some of the service programs at Messiah Baptist Church to give the outside community a glimpse of the work church members do. As part of this class project, students used iPads to shoot photos and videos for the stories.
Special thanks to Rev. Michael Walker, pastor of the church, and everyone at Messiah Baptist for their help with the project. Also, thanks to the Community Based Learning program and Prof. Corey Dolgon at Stonehill, the iPad initiative programs sponsored by the college and Information Technology Department, Stonehill librarian Patricia McPherson and student liaison Liam Dacko for their assistance and support.

Service to community and the church

About Me

These stories and videos were written and produced by students at Stonehill College in the Advanced Newswriting and Reporting course, taught by Prof. Maureen Boyle. Students were supplied with iPads for the semester thanks to a technology grant and partnership with the Stonehill technology department. All of the student videos were shot on iPads and edited with the iMovie iPad app.

The Jubilee Credit Union wants to help the community save money

By Aimee Chiavaroli

                A line snaked into the room next to the foyer after the Sunday service ended at Messiah Baptist Church.
                Members of all ages stood in line waiting to add money to their accounts at the Jubilee Credit Union in the Messiah Baptist Church in Brockton, which focuses on helping people save money and build credit.
                “It’s a good place to go and save, and invest in the church,” church member Cynthia Phillips-Kaipu said.
                Another church member who uses the Jubilee Credit Union praised the credit union.
                “If credit is bad, they’re more lenient than regular banks,” Monica Ross Monteiro said, “This is the best credit union around in Brockton.”  
Customers at the credit union.
Photo by Aimee Chiavaroli
                The Jubilee Credit Union in Brockton began as a vision by Rev. Michael Walker, pastor of the church, is now focusing on expanding to help more people in the community.
                In April 1982, Walker “envisioned members of the congregation needed a place to invest money effectively and collectively,” CEO and President of the Jubilee Credit Union, Annette Rowell-Thomas, said.
                On October 2, 1983, the Credit Union was granted a charter.
                “The primary mission is to provide a spiritual environment for teaching financial literacy that will lead to an understanding of economic and personal finances,” Thomas said. “Our mission is to help underserve a low-income environment that doesn’t have access to financial services,” she said.
                The Credit Union is open to members of Messiah Baptist Church and associates because it works by a Field of Membership (FOM) plan due to their charter. The plan includes family, friends and acquaintances of church members, and faith-based institutions, Thomas said. While this could be limiting, it can cover a broad range of people.
                Now, after 32 years, the Jubilee Credit Union wants to expand the charter to a community credit union. The Credit Union would be able to advertise outside of the church, increasing membership and asset size, Thomas said.
                The credit union also wants to expand their faith-based institution services. They are working with the Brockton Interfaith Community (BIC) to help provide financial literacy to immigrants – documented and undocumented – and those without access to the system in low-income communities, Thomas said.
                “[We want] to help them understand the importance of establishing good credit so they will be able to qualify for financial services,” she said.
                There is a $5 joining fee, but it is waived for people 18 and under. Members must have at least $25 in their accounts to be considered a member in good standing, Thomas said. If the account balance is under $25, members may be subject to a low balance fee. 
Miles Jackson, Messiah Administrator and Jubilee Credit Union member.
Photo by Aimee Chiavaroli 
                Thomas noted the credit union is insured by NCUA and memberships are insured up to $250,000 per account. They are audited like a credit union and are well capitalized, she said.  
                The credit union offers different services to their members such as Christmas and vacation savings accounts and a 52-week savings plan. The plan starts with saving $1 per week, hoping the amount increases each week to encourage saving. After the 52 weeks, the money is transferred into a regular savings account and the plan starts over.
                “We had new members who joined the credit union just to be a part of the program,” Thomas said.
                The program went into effect in 2015. It increased savings for members and increased membership, Thomas said.
                The credit union also offers scholarship programs funded through the Massachusetts Credit Union League. There is one scholarship awarded to a high school student and college student each year. Students apply through the credit union and applications are sent to MCLU.
                Barbara Bruce, a volunteer and shareholder member has been working at the credit union for about three years.
“I love it. I like seeing the credit union grow,” Bruce said. 
Volunteer Barbara Bruce.
Photo by Aimee Chiavaroli 

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