Rev. Dr. Cynthia Jackson (pastor of Allen AME Church and President of Newark AME District Ministers Fellowship) gave the message to the 40 guests gathered at our prayer breakfast.
The title of her sermon was “Is there a Nehemiah in the house?” She began by reading the passage in Nehemiah about the city of Jerusalem being destroyed and burned at the gates. She remarked that even though this story takes place thousands of years ago, it is still relevant to the challenges we face today…violence, drugs, increase in illiteracy, racial tension…
Nehemiah did not sit back and watch, he took action to solve the problem. If we are to protect what we are building, we need to take action. Nehemiah faced much opposition but in the end the city was rebuilt. Those who do God’s work will always face opposition until it is completed.
Rev. Jackson concluded with lessons learned from Nehemiah. We need honest observation in order to diagnose the problem. Communities are not destroyed overnight nor will they be rebuilt overnight. To make a difference in our homes, neighborhoods and communities, we need fearless conviction and authentic devotion. She pointed out that Joshua understood this well… as he stood and looked over at the other side of the river and saw the people, he said as long as there are people who are not in the Promised land of Milk and Honey, we have work to do…
Thank you to the many people who made up the program. Rev. Gloria Killings, Dean of Ministries at Union Baptist Church, was the MC. Rev. Chris Salera, pastor of Christ Chosen Generation Church, gave the invocation, and Rev. Manoj Jacob, pastor of Clifton Family Church, gave Welcoming Remarks. The New Jerusalem Choir offered beautiful songs of inspiration.
Many of us had attended the Peace Starts With Me rally in the Nassau Veteran’s Coliseum on Nov. 12, and Rev. Bruce Grodner, the ACLC National Executive Director, led off the sharing of testimonies. He said he was blown away when he entered the Coliseum and saw number the people, and heard that some buses had come as far as Kentucky.
He referenced Mother Moon’s speech, how she spoke of bringing people together beyond denominational, religious and cultural barriers and told everyone that America has to lead the way. Religious people need to lead the way. We need to see beyond the external factors, and work past them.
Testimonies of the Interreligious Association for Peace and Development conference were given by Rev. Jean Banks, Assistant Pastor of New Life Christian Church, and Bishop Rose Trotman, Association of Christian Evangelists. Rev. Banks shared that she felt like the woman with the alabaster jar (Mathew 26:7), before the great speakers at the Convocation…There was nothing said about theology, only that God is love, unifying them in Christ. She felt she is not alone anymore (due the IADP and ACLC).
Bishop Trotman shared a report about the conference speakers, noting that there was much diversity, racially, politically and religiously. When the conference participants entered the coliseum on Nov. 12 she looked around and could feel the spirit of the Lord. We sat together as family. Jesus loved the family, Mother Moon has a family.
Rev. Greg Agulan, ACLC Coordinator for N.E., USA, gave closing remarks and commented that our belief should unite us. The Will of the Lord will be accomplished if we work together.
The comments of the MC, the testimonies, and the sermon flowed together in such a way that everyone felt they shared a common goal or mission, which brought them closer together. The participants lingered for a long time after the program ended.
Submitted by Rev. Kathaleen Sato/ NJ ACLC Co-Chair