An interfaith service will be held for Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. on Jan. 19 , sponsored by the Interfaith Clergy Association of Bayonne, at Wallace Temple AME Zion Church at 3:30 p.m.
Reverend Dorothy Patterson is the leader of faith at the Wallace Temple AME Zion Church in Bayonne. Located at 392 Avenue C, Rev. Patterson says the church will host the event to show unity at a time when the faith communities of Bayonne need it most.
Sunday, Jan. 19 also falls in the week of Christian Unity. This year, the chosen theme was taken from a scriptural verse, Acts 28:2.
Acts 28:2 in the New International Version (NIV) Bible deals with unusual kindness. The apostle Paul, shipwrecked on Malta, is given a warm welcome by the native islanders. Paul is stuck by how kind they are despite their vast differences.
Rev. Patterson said that the theme was adopted by the Bayonne Interfaith Clergy Association because “it is powerful, it is relevant, and it is what needs to be happening.”
“We need to be showing unusual kindness,” she said. “And we need to be intentional and conscious about it.”
‘That’s just where we live’
“Why not?” she said when asked about the interfaith service. She referred to a favorite quote of hers regarding faith.
“For me personally, there’s a quote by John Wesley: ‘There is no holiness without social holiness,’” Rev. Patterson said, affirming her belief in the proverb. “When you’re talking about faith, how do you do that in such a way where you’re not inclusive of all people?”
Rev. Patterson said that the God that she serves is a God who loves everyone. And since everyone has been created in the image of God, she said that the service couldn’t be anything else other than sn interfaith celebration.
This all ties in with the themes of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Rev. Patterson said. She said that in terms of his lifestyle and what he promoted, Dr. King promoted justice for all people.
Rev. Patterson quoted a line from a letter that King wrote from Birmingham Jail.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Dr. King wrote. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
“So if there is injustice going on in India, then there is a threat to justice in every single place,” Rev. Patterson said after previously quoting Dr. King.
She recalled how many of those who marched beside Dr. King came from various walks of life. Some of the key individuals were not all African Americans nor did they all belong to the same faith.
She says that Caucasian people, as well as Jewish people, Muslims and Christians alike, all gathered in support of Dr. King because it was a just cause. In a way, those supporters were showing “unusual kindness.”
All faiths are welcome
The Bayonne Interfaith Clergy Association consists of a myriad of members across various faiths. These include representatives from the different sects of Christianity, like Protestants and Catholics, as well as the Jewish community.
Rev. Patterson said the Muslim community in Bayonne is represented in the interfaith association as well.
“We are inclusive of anyone who wants to be a part of interfaith,” she said. “We understand how valuable it is that we come together, because we are stronger together than we are apart.”
Guests can expect an environment that will promote cohesiveness and unity, Rev. Patterson said, and it will be an environment that is open for everyone to come.
Different religious leaders, clergy, and faith leaders will come together in prayer and in celebration of Dr. King. According to Rev. Patterson, the various faith leaders will be bringing quotes “that edify and that do not tear down.”
Words of healing, proverbs that mend, and quotes that strengthen will be read aloud to those in attendance during the interfaith celebration. These quotes alongside various prayers are meant to draw the communities of faith closer in a time of need.
“[Those in attendance] will hear quotes that let folks know that, in light of what has happened in Jersey City and other places as well, we are united for the calls of peace,” Rev. Patterson said. “That’s why that theme is so relevant, that we have to show unusual kindness.”
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