Investing in Neighborhoods. Developing New Leaders.
Dear Brothers and Sisters of Faith,
Many of us have been shaken to our souls by what is becoming of our society.
It has been a long time since we as a nation have been this divided. As a country seen across the globe as a “melting pot,” our strength of diversity has been contorted to wedge social and ideological disunion. Christian versus Muslim versus Jew, or any other belief system; White collar versus Blue collar; Democrat versus Republican; educated versus unschooled; Black versus White; Immigrant versus American born; Gay versus Straight; Men versus Women. As a result, fear and instability have fractured American discourse and deepened the wounds of division.
This new reality has created great anxiety among many, but no community has been more severely impacted than our children who are trying to make sense of our world today.
From the young immigrant child who fears separation from their parents to the childwho fears violence in the streets of their neighborhoods, to the family in danger of losing their healthcare or their home, our future generations are being affected and we must fight for them.
Children and their parents wanting a quality education now confront the possibility of their schools being closed as the federal government works to dismantle public education and its funding. Young people in need of summer jobs and the opportunity to gain employable skills may be disappointed as Congress works to defund such programs. Expected increases in poverty will lead to more family and community instability, substance dependency, and violence. In a community where we have lost at least one generation to hopelessness, violence and despair, we will now have to confront the real possibility of losing another.
In times such as these, it is critical for leaders and our institutions to rise as one to use their influence and provide the strength and moral courage needed to stand up to fear, provide hope, and bring stability and comfort to the lives of our most vulnerable…our children.
For these reasons, we ask that you join us for a very special religious and community building experience on Sunday, March 19th at 4PM at the Historic 12th Baptist Church, 150 Warren Street, where we call upon faith leaders, citizens, and city and state leaders to join us as we “PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN.”
Join us, as Clergy from all denominations will share a common pulpit to bless our city’s children, letting them know that when in doubt there is hope in faith. We want our children to know that the church, the mosque, and the synagogue are beacons of light and sources of protection from pain and humiliation. On this Sunday, we will reach out to our Creator, calling upon its blessing for our most sacred citizens, to keep them free of harm and to seek the Creator in these difficult times.
Moreover, we will also make a passionate appeal to citizens in our communities to work to provide comfort, security, and wholeness through volunteerism and community service. Citizen involvement is crucial if our children are to grow to become righteous, fearless, civically engaged and aware citizens. Our children must be involved in efforts to build the beloved community in these trying times..
We will sing. We will share. We will laugh. We will reflect. More importantly, we will recommit ourselves to service and justice. This is a gathering of love and light. It is our public display which says to our children and to the world that we have hope in each other and in the God, that watches over us all.
We will be calling in the next few days to speak with you about this event, personally ask for your support and participation and answer any questions that you may have.
I look forward to your joining us on March 19th.
Yours in Faith and the Beloved Community
Rev. Willie Bodrick, II M. Div. , 12th Baptist Church
Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry
Rev. Rahsaan Hall
Horace Small, Union of Minority Neighborhoods