Posted on : Tuesday April 29, 2014

By S. Allen

BALTIMORE, Md—Bethlehem Baptist Church regularly encourages residents of Baltimore City to spiritually “clean up” their lives. One weekend a year, however, they work together to help physically “clean up” their city.BaltimoreBelieve-72

The church hosted its fifth annual “Clean Sweep” on April 26th. A very large roll-away dumpster, donated by the city, showed up in front of the church building early Saturday morning and was made available for anyone in the area who wanted to utilize it.

“We’ve always had a tremendous turnout from the community,” said Darnell Ranson, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church.

Ranson worked together with the Mayor’s office and other community leaders to make the event a success. The church has always had a great working relationship with the local government, said Ranson, and “Clean Sweep” always helps to strengthen that relationship.

Throughout the day, residents of Baltimore City turned out with bags, cans and buckets full of trash to dispose of in the walk-in dumpster. Volunteers from Bethlehem Church were there to help, and also manned tables with free hot dogs, chips and bottles of water.

There were also tables set up for people to share prayer requests and to be prayed with on the spot.

“This is a great event because it helps us keep our city clean by letting people get rid of trash around their houses and streets, and at the same time it allows us to minister to the needs of the community and to pray for individuals,” said Ranson.

A native of Baltimore, Ranson also worked as the Director of Community Impact for Embrace Baltimore several years ago, and helped other churches in and around Charm City use strategic evangelism techniques, including “Clean Sweep,” to reach out to their neighbors in a non-threatening and helpful way.

The church, founded in 2002 by Ranson, has used many creative methods to reach out to the local area, particularly at-risk kids and teenagers. The “Kidz Safe Haven Community Outreach Ministry,” a daycare for younger children and after-school care for school aged kids, has been growing and thriving, according to Ranson, and is effectively keeping kids off the streets while giving them quality care and solid teaching.

For more information on Bethlehem Church and its ministries, or to learn more about the “Clean Sweep,” go to or call the church office at (410) 254-8300.