In Memoriam: Michael Clements, 1945 - 2022
With sadness, we report the loss of Michael Clements, longtime IAF organizer. He served as organizer with TMO and predecessor organizations of One-LA during a career that spanned four decades.
After supporting farm workers [with United Farm Workers of America], Clements joined the Industrial Areas Foundation, the longest-standing network of local faith and community-based organizations in the nation, and moved to Houston to work for the organization... [Back in California] Clements crossed paths with Fred Ross, Sr....
Said Fred Ross, Jr., a Bay Area-based social justice organizer: “My father respected Mike and saw him as one of the up-and- coming organizers back in 1985.”
Said [Cardinal Roger] Mahony, “He was the epitome of a great community organizer backed up by his wonderful Catholic faith, especially the social teachings of the church, which he knew inside and out from the Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum in 1891 all the way to Pope Francis today.”
[Photo Credit: Scott Smeltzer, Los Angeles Times]
On the Passing of Msgr. John Powis
We are sorry to announce that Msgr. John Powis passed away yesterday after a long illness. Msgr. Powis was a founding leader of EBC when he served as pastor of Presentation Parish in Oceanhill-Brownsville. He then moved to Bushwick, where he led St. Barbara's Parish for many years. Msgr. Powis was part of a small team of priests that led the negotiations with the late Bishop Francis J. Mugavero as EBC began its Nehemiah Plan in 1982 and 1983. He was a relentless champion of the people of East Brooklyn and an unwavering partner to all the clergy and lay leaders of EBC and Metro IAF. He loved the New York Mets, loved being a parish priest, loved Brooklyn, and loved EBC.
His spirit and toughness inspired us all.
Mike Gecan, IAF Senior Organizer & Dr. David K. Brawley, EBC Co-Chair
Msgr. John Powis, Champion of Brooklyn’s Downtrodden, Dies at 87, NY Times [pdf]
[Photo Credit: Linda Rosier, NY Times]
We Mourn Together: Bishop Douglas Miles
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Bishop Douglas Miles, IAF Co-Chair and BUILD Co-Chair Emeritus, passed away August 3, 2021 after complications from heart surgery.
Bishop was a giant of a man, pastor, leader and friend. For more than 50 years, Bishop Douglas Miles (in photo from left, marching with Pastor Prentice at right) has been on the front-lines of every major social change in Baltimore and every major fight led by IAF.
As longstanding Metro IAF and BUILD Leader Carol Reckling said, “It’s almost unfathomable to grasp Bishop’s reach. One way or another he impacted every one of us."
We were blessed with one of the greatest. We are all part of his legacy. We miss him dearly and are reminded of the words from God to the prophet that Bishop often closed out actions with, "Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us? And the voice of the prophet responded, 'Here am I, send me.’”
Let us continue to answer the call and fight the good fight. As we grieve his loss, may his incredible prophetic voice, brilliant wisdom, deep laughter, and shared memory guide us.
Please hold his dear wife Rose Miles, sons Pastor Dante and Harvey Miles, his entire family, Koinonia Baptist Church and BUILD in your prayers.
Bishop Douglas Miles, Who Advocated for Baltimore's Impoverished Residents and Co-Headed BUILD, Dies, Baltimore Sun [pdf]