“What can we do in the face of senseless acts of violence…in times of unrest and natural disasters,” asked Father Francis Colamaria from Saint Helen’s Church.
This question was put in the form of a prayer at NYPD’s Patrol Borough Queens South’s Interfaith Prayer Service. The service, held on Tuesday October 10 at the Sikh Cultural Society, brought together faith leaders, community and law enforcement to share prayers and invite community wide fellowship.
“The relationship between NYPD and the community is growing stronger,” said Bhai Gurdev Kang of the Sikh Cultural Society. His prayer was for stronger partnerships and future peace. “Working together [we can] stand and face any challenge,” he said.
The interfaith service welcomed faith leaders from houses of worships representing various religions across South Queens to lead those present in prayer. At a time when current events are filled with tragedies from natural disasters and domestic terrorism, it was a means of coming together. Love and togetherness were the central themes of all the prayers that evening.
Reverend Greta Gainer Anderson from Greater Allen A.M.E prayed for the strength of togetherness. “Bind the people of the city of New York to each other and to law enforcement,” she prayed.
Pandit Vishal Maraj from the Hindu Learning Foundation prayed a blessing for police officers. “May they be the guiding force behind governance,” he said. Maraj also prayed “that no one suffer. Peace. Peace. Peace.”
Reverend Ehjaz Nabie from the Faith Assembly Church prayed for “peace, love and unity”.
Rabbi Shlomo Nisanou from the Kehilat Sephardim of Ahavat Achim prayed that those gathered know “how fragile the world is…Nothing is forever.” He prayed that those present “love yourself as you love your friend. This included the community,” he prayed.
Bishop Erskine Williams from New Seasons Family Worship Center who also serves as the President of the 103rd Precinct Community Council Board prayed for love and unity. “[Let us have] love, peace and unity between police and community for the common good of both of us,” he prayed.
“With all the political, social and religious events happening in the US and the city, it is so wonderful that we all come together, sharing faith, and unified as a community,” said Assistant Chief David Barrere. He invited attendees to fellowship after the service.
Commissioner Marco Carrion from Mayor DeBlasio’s Community Affairs Unit reiterated the Mayor’s commitment to “build police/community relationships”.
After the service, law enforcement, clergy and community gathered for fellowship in the Temple’s hall. With plenty of food and laughter, individuals of various communities, religions and ages came together to meet and greet. There were photo opportunities with NYPD leadership, selfies and conversation.
“We join together to keep our neighborhood safe,” said Carrion.