East St. Louis — Chet Cantrell

Update:   Thanks Chet!

Letting Our Light Shine

#FBCmissionsonamission, #FBCmissiondriven
#FBCmissionminded, #FBCinaction

For many years, with God’s help, you have been making a profound difference in the lives of poor, underserved young children in East St. Louis, Illinois. Through your regular, weekly contributions you have supported the mission ministry of the Christian Activity Center.

With God’s guidance and wisdom, this center, directed by Reverend Chet Cantrell of Davidson County, has been meeting the needs of some of our country’s most impoverished children. The center works with children ages 5-18 each day meeting their physical, mental and spiritual needs. As this nurturing environment takes place, they see children caring for each other, and watch how they grow in time to enrich daily lives and decisions. These children, like all of us, want their lives to matter. How wonderful to see our gifts making a difference for the least of these.

Chet Cantrell will be visiting our church on Wednesday, March 4. We will have a Covered Dish Supper. We hope you can be present to hear Chet share more about this great ministry.

From the Christian Activity Center’s website, About Us:

Teen violence swept the streets of East St. Louis when Director Rev. Chet Cantrell arrived at the Christian Activity Center in 1989. CAC’s purpose at that time was to keep kids alive.​

CAC’s building was three large rooms/ages 6-18 all together. There was no structure or funding for curriculum, and no funding to hire educators, counselors, chaplains, or coaches. CAC started with graffiti removal, walking into the heart of street violence and gang wars, and visiting mothers of murdered teens to counsel against retribution. The city was in a downward spiral in this post-industrial era. Congregations fled for safer ground just as East St. Louis’s families’ need and despair was compounded by dwindling resources in the city.  CAC’s immediate sphere of influence, the Samuel Gompers Homes (“The Gompers”), had become the acme of violence in what was aptly called: America’s Deadliest City.

The desperate city asked Baptists to do something to help stem the tide of juvenile crime and violence in this neighborhood. After a series of attempts to reestablish ministry that included five directors in seven years and a near-closing in 1988, a nationwide search was conducted and the current Director, Rev. Chet Cantrell, was hired to begin work January 6, 1989.  2018 marks Cantrell’s 29th year at the helm of CAC.

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