Newark mayor urges unity, hope for city's streets

By Naomi Nix | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 29, 2015

NEWARK — About half a dozen clergy members stretched their arms toward Newark mayor Ras Baraka on Saturday and prayed that God would help him steer the state's largest city into a new future.

"You are with him and we are too," said New Life Body of Christ Bishop Ronald Jones.

Pastors, rabbis and imams across the city participated in a city-wide "spiritual engagement" event on Saturday in an effort to spread messages of peace and unity throughout Newark

Residents and clergy took over a street corner in each ward, where they sang, ate food and talked about Newark and God; The event was part a religious service and part a block party, as religious leaders spoke about the bright future awaiting the city.

Baraka told an audience of about 150 people in the North Ward, that Newarkers may be speaking in different languages in different sections of the city, but everyone was sharing the same message of faith.

"All over this city in every language we can imagine we are raising the name of God," Baraka said. "That's powerful."

Baraka also encouraged residents to get involved in local efforts to improve Newark.

"It is not enough to complain about what's happening in this city," he said. "God gave you the power to change this city."

While Newark suffers from crime, homelessness, unemployment and an ailing school system, the city can improve if its residents work together, Baraka said.

"Our city will move forward," the mayor said.

Gail Neipert rocked back and forth as a choir sang "God is Faithful." A member of the Lighthouse Assembly of God, Neipert said she came to the event because she wanted people in Newark to know that "God is here."

"I love it," she said. "It's bringing everyone together no matter what their religion is."

Dana Davis, 29, said she too wanted to spread a message of faith and hope with the greater Newark community.

"You can still have fun and be a Christian," she said.

Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment