FEEDING THE FLOCK

ENABLED BY A NEW LAW, CHURCHES STEP INTO THE GAP LEFT BY THE FAILURE OF TRADITIONAL WELFARE

The war on poverty may be over, its soldiers in disarray and retreat, but the Rev. Floyd Flake, who is a departing member of Congress, seems not to have got the news. Flake's Allen African Methodist Episcopal Church in Queens, N.Y., with 9,000 members and a towering new $23 million cathedral, operates a government-funded social-services network that would be the envy of many municipal governments. The church's 30,000-sq.-ft. social-services center houses a city-funded walk-in clinic and federal Head Start classrooms at street level. On the center's second floor are a city-sponsored prenatal-counseling program for teen mothers, a state-sponsored housing and community-renewal...

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