It is a grey day on Amsterdam avenue in Harlem but not any grey day for some. A heavy wooden cross is slowly going down 142nd street, with a crowd of about 100 people behind it. Many long bearded men wearing grey robes and many women in white vale leading the march. It is Good Friday, the religious holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. In memory of the son of god, The Franciscan Friars are walking carrying the cross from West Harlem to their local church in the Bronx. Right before crossing over the 145 St bridge, the rain starts to poor, many members of the church takes turn to pass the cross on each other´s shoulders. 156th street west of Elton Avenue is where the 50 minute pilgrimage ends. A gathering is made at the entrance of the former Roman Catholic parish church of St.Adalbert. The Franciscan Friars hosts over 60 homeless men in their shelter next door who are in critical need of assistance, due to substance abuse, financial instability or other social issues.
Along the Hudson river, two hours north of the city, Poughkeepsie has a population of more or less of 30000 people and a poverty level of about 23 percent. With about 60 official official churches in Poughkeepsie, 53 percent of the population was reported to be religious. Beth-El is one of those churches, run by Pastor Dwight A. Hunt. It has several outreach ministries for its community such as substance abuse, food pantry, winter clothing donations and dancing activities for the youth. Beth-El church follows Pentecostalism, a renewal movement that rose in the 20th century within Protestant Christianity, which came out of the holiness movement. It places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism with the Holy Spirit. Being economically supported by its members, every Sunday services takes place within the Church.
With a population of about 28000, the city of Newburgh located an hour and half north of NYC faces a poverty level of 34 percent. Facing major crimes related to drugs, gangs and shooting, the city is in need of critical social support. The Armory is an old military base which was turned into a unity center. With 393 members today, the Armory offers free educational, athletic and civic activities for the youth and their families on Saturdays. The Armory now offers English second language courses for immigrants, math, art, music, basketball and football courts. Being free of any religious or political beliefs, it is challenging for the old military base to find funding support to keep running its free programs. Having to be creative in bringing some financial support, the facilities manager Lissette Martinez, originally from Mexico, had the idea to create monthly events based on her cultural background. Since the latino population is about 48 percent in Newburgh, rodeos and Latino concerts have become the most highly attended event in Newburgh. Over 3000 people from the latino community come together and pay an entrance fee to joyfully celebrate their culture for a day.