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Trip Burns

JACKSONIAN Kass Welchlin

K

ass Welchlin calls his bike ride from northeast Minneapolis, Minn., to Jackson in 1998 “12 days of the best conversations I had between myself and God.” The trip took a total of 1,134 miles, or at least that’s what his odometer said when his bike broke down at the intersection of Fortification and State streets. Before that journey, the longest he had ever ridden was 720 miles. Fortunately, he already had a job here. Around 1997, while he was living in Minneapolis, Welchlin met Spencer Perkins. Perkins, then the owner and editor of “Urban Family & Reconcilers,” and his friend Chris Rice, who currently serves as the director of the Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School in North Carolina, had been to Minneapolis several times in their work across the country with Christian community development and racial reconciliation. Welchlin attended Park Avenue United Methodist Church, which had been having some problems within the congregation. Perkins and Rice did a reconciliation workshop that Welchlin calls “a cross between a workshop and an intervention” during the week. Welchlin was amazed by the work the pair was doing in communities across the nation, including the Christian commune in Jackson, the Antioch Community. “(It was like) Amish culture, but you didn’t have the Puritan guidelines,” Welchlin says about Antioch.

contents

“It was a very unique social experiment.” After Perkins’ passing in 1998, Perkin’s father, Dr. John Perkins, hired Welchlin to help the Perkins Foundation with fundraising and volunteering while they revived its racial-relations ministry, Reconciler’s Fellowship, after the organization closed its doors on the Antioch Community, and almost shut down the race-relations ministry. Youth for Christ asked him to be on the board in late 2008, after he had given to the organization for a year and volunteered for a while. In October of this year, YFC asked him to be the executive director. The organization’s mission is to “reach young people everywhere.” Welchlin’s fiveyear goal is to grow the organization and saturate the metro area and surrounding middle schools with YFC’s programs and outreach. He also wants to begin a capital campaign and find another facility for the organization. Welchlin calls his biggest inspiration his family: his wife, Cassandra, whom he met here, and their three children, Kyita, Zia and Corban. Zia, 5, was diagnosed with severe Childhood Apraxia of Speech, a rare disease that gives a child trouble forming speech movements. “Having a child with a disability is a whole different category of parenting,” Welchlin says. For more information on Youth for Christ, visit jacksonyfc.org. —Amber Helsel and Chellese Hall

Cover photo by Trip Burns

11 Public Shakeup

Reorganizing the public works department could have lasting affects on Mayor Lumumba’s legacy and how developers deal with the Jackson City Council.

29 Worldly Wonders

Explore the significance of Muslim history in “The Legacy of Timbuktu” at the Mississippi Arts Center.

31 Hard Realities

“It’s that abject cruelty of America’s most awful institution that provides the thread for Solomon’s story, and not only makes it hard to watch but hard to find anything to be hopeful about. From the moment Solomon is captured, in Washington, D.C., it seems possible that he could be killed at any moment; we steady ourselves for the next act of crushing inhumanity to which black bodies will be subjected.” —R.L. Nave, “No Comfort in ‘12 Years a Slave’”

jacksonfreepress.com

4 ............................. Editor’s Note 6 ...................................... YOU PAGE 8 ............................................ Talks 12 ................................. editorial 13 ..................................... opinion 14 ............................. Cover Story 19 .......................... Holiday Food 25 ..................................... Hitched 26 .................... Girl About Town 29 ........................................... arts 31 ........................................... film 32 ........................................ 8 Days 33 ................................ JFP Events 35 ........................................ music 36 ........................ music listings 37 ...................................... sports 39 ..................................... Puzzles 41 ........................................ astro

courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures; Trip burns; trip Burns

November 20 - 26, 2013 | Vol. 12 No. 11

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v12n11 - Fewer Meals This Season? Plus Holiday Food  

City Crime: It's Complicated p 8 - 9 Hitched: All That Sparkles p 25 Cardinal Sons Win Big p 35

v12n11 - Fewer Meals This Season? Plus Holiday Food  

City Crime: It's Complicated p 8 - 9 Hitched: All That Sparkles p 25 Cardinal Sons Win Big p 35