'I Want to Be a Part of That'
Lieutenants (ordained pastors) Henry and Pamela Boateng run the Conner Creek Corps Community Center on Detroit's east side.
“There used to be kids who would walk into the church bragging that they had gotten kicked out of school. Those same kids come in now and tell me they had a good day. And if they had a bad day, they’ll want to talk about it with me.” Lieutenant (pastor) Pam Boateng is in the middle of describing how her church, The Salvation Army Conner Creek Corps Community Center, serves the Detroit neighborhood.
Youth programs are just one facet of the support the corps provides to those in need: anyone can walk in and receive food, utility bill assistance, house fire vouchers, and counseling. A robust senior community gathers monthly for a luncheon that also features a community partner providing education on topics such as grief counseling or elder care.
“Some of our seniors are caring for their parents,” says Boateng. “It can be tough to be a 70 year old taking care of a 90 year old.”
Boateng has been an officer (ordained pastor) for The Salvation Army for 2 years. When she was a girl, she was introduced to The Salvation Army when her family stayed at a shelter in Chicago during a difficult time. When the family moved to Iowa City several years later, they remembered the help they received and decided to attend church at the corps community center there.
“I was young and looking for somewhere to belong,” recalls Boateng. “I always felt welcome there. That’s what kept me coming back. I was loved and not judged. People always approached newcomers with an openness that communicated, ‘I don’t know exactly what’s going on in your life, but whatever it is, I want to be a part of that.’”
After she got married, she felt the call to ministry as a Salvation Army officer.
“I was watching a video of a woman preaching,” shares Boateng, “and I heard God say, ‘This is what you are going to do for me.’ At first, I did not feel worthy of the call. But after talking with my friends at The Salvation Army and my husband and growing in my faith, I felt confirmed later on.”
It does not take long to see that her actions confirm her call as well: on any given week, Boateng gives pastoral care to people of all ages, whether they are church members or walking in for the first time. She also leads singing during worship and preaches. When help is needed, she’ll cook for the senior luncheon.
Boateng puts it this way: “I like to serve people.”
When asked about plans to expand the corps building, Boateng lights up.
“We’re talking about building out our programs so we can provide exercise classes, a youth basketball league, coding and STEM clubs, Bible study classes, life skill classes, a better-equipped computer lab, and lessons for piano, guitar, drums, and vocals. We just want to be a resource for the community in any way we can.”
Help make the dream of Lt. Boateng and so many others on the east side of Detroit by supporting our Summer in the City campaign. Donate now to help us expand our services at the Conner Creek Corps Community Center, or give in one of the following ways:
- Texting SUMMER to 24365
- Visiting salmich.org/summerinthecity and clicking DONATE
- Calling 877-SAL-MICH
- Sending a check made payable to The Salvation Army, to: 16130 Northland Dr., Southfield, MI 48075