One of the organizations which Reformation helps support through the work of its Community Action Ministry is the Chester Eastside Ministries.  Rev. Bernice Warren, who is the pastor and director of CEM, will speak at the Sunday forum on March 23rd.

Rev. Bernice Warren was born in Chester, growing up in the Ruth Bennet homes project.  From seventh grade on she took part in the Upward Bound program of Swarthmore College, then received a bachelor’s degree from Kutztown University in secondary education.  However, she felt called to the ministry, and after two years of teaching, ultimately came back to Chester, where she became director of Chester Eastside, an outreach of the Philadelphia Presbytery.  Among the programs which CEM has provided are an after school tutoring program, a GED instructional program, a music and arts summer program, and many more. Chester Eastside Ministries has also provided food distribution to needy people in Chester on a weekly basis, as well as access to clothing and school supplies.

One of the ways Reformation has given support to Chester Eastside Ministries is in helping to provide children’s clothing and toys at Christmas time. This past Christmas, however, the clothes were delivered not to the beautiful domed building at Ninth and Potter, but to rented space across the street at  in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, when their own building was deemed to be unsafe.  Even though their space is now limited, however, the programs continue, with Rev. Warren becoming more involved than ever in her efforts to help the people of Chester. Not only does she continue her ministries, but she also has spoken out at public forums in support of better education for the children of Chester.

Rev. Warren has also become interested in helping Haiti by becoming directly involved in HOPEH, a ministry to provide basic health and education for children in Haiti.  Some members of Reformation participated in two donations of OTC drugs and of children’s vitamins which were taken to Huampas, Haiti.

Recently, Rev. Warren was honored as one of Chester’s “Persons of the Year,” by Chester Spirit Newspaper.   She also received the “Friend of the Community Award,”  in February, given by Congregation Beth Israel.  On March 23rd, members of Reformation will have the opportunity to hear Rev. Bernice Warren speak and to ask her questions about her work.