WARREN Congregation, community work to build pastor's dream

A groundbreaking is set for 11 a.m. Monday at the church.
WARREN -- The late Rev. Morris M. Reed envisioned a park and educational center for the city's southwest side.
A little more than two years after his death, members of his congregation at New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church and the community are working to make the Rev. Mr. Reed's dream a reality.
They'll conduct a groundbreaking ceremony at 11 a.m. Monday at the Tod Avenue S.W. church for the Pastor Morris M. Reed Memorial Park.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is the scheduled guest speaker.
"The only thing different with the park from what Pastor Reed envisioned is the name," said Rosalyn Reed, park secretary and Mr. Reed's daughter-in-law. "He wouldn't have wanted it to be named after him, but it was his vision."
Creation of the park is a three-phase process that started in 1992 with the land purchase. Phase two, for which ground is being broken Monday, is the pavilion and playground equipment.
Estimated cost for phase two is $80,000, said Marsha Little, park chairwoman. The pavilion is expected to be completed this summer.
Educational center
Phase three, for which the cost has been determined, includes an educational center where children could get tutoring, a walking trail and baseball diamond. Little said that Mr. Reed also envisioned instruction in the finer arts at the educational center.
"On this side of town, there really is a need for a park," Reed said.
Youth Build of Trumbull County is helping to construct the pavilion. An account has been established in the church's name at Cortland Bank for people to make donations.
Mr. Reed was the pastor at New Freedom for 20 years before his death in January 2001 at 60. He also worked full-time as a millwright on the midnight shift at General Motors.
"He was more of a full-time pastor than some pastors who only work at their churches," Reed said.
After his death, Reed found 36 messages of Mr. Reed's answering machine, most from people who didn't know him but who'd been referred to him for help with their utility bills, rent or other problems.
"He would have answered every last one of them," Reed said.
Little described the late pastor as a "very caring, compassionate person who was concerned for humanity." Education, poverty and homelessness were among his concerns.
"He wanted to help return morals to society and to children and that by reaching children, you would eventually reach adults," Little said.