Brooklyn Boro

Faith In Brooklyn For Dec. 9

December 9, 2016 By Francesca Norsen Tate Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Zainab Ismail represents two Brooklyn heritage groups. She identifies as a Latina and a Muslim convert. Eagle photo by Francesca N. Tate
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Healing, Transforming Lives Were Themes of BP Adams’ Interfaith Clergy Breakfast

Borough President Eric L. Adams emphatically told a group of clergy from Brooklyn that all persons are interconnected and what happens to one person affects everyone else.

He was speaking at the annual Interfaith Breakfast that he hosts for clergy each December, to reflect on the year that’s ending

and to set a positive tone for the coming year.

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Healing was a major focus of this year’s event, and was reflected in the prayers that religious leaders said at the podium, in song, and in Borough President Adams’ spoken an announcement that he has conquered his diabetes by transforming his diet and his thinking. He urged those present to be leaders in speaking and living in positive ways.

This year’s event also saluted the spouses of clergy. Adams pointed out that, with the growing number of women religious leaders, some of these spouses are husbands. While individual proclamations were not given out this year, the Borough President thanked clergy spouses for the sacrifices they and their families have to make.

A number of faith leaders new to Brooklyn this year were also on the dais, including the Rev. Adriene Thorne, recently-installed pastor of First Presbyterian Church; and Brother Robert Shull, Brooklyn stake president, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Pastor Thorne gave the invocation and Br. Shull also offered prayers for harmony and love.

Rabbi Hadassah Ryklin of Messianic Temple Beth El offered a prayer that tied in several passages of the Hebrew scriptures asking God to cleanse his people from pride, hatred, iniquity, and to replace these with a spirit of love and generosity.

Adams also outlined some of the achievements and outreach programs that his Director of Faith-Based and Clergy Initiatives, Pastor Gilford Monrose, oversaw this year. These included programs to help clergy take stock of the value of their current resources, including buildings and lands, assist with grant writing, and the MetroCard donation drive for families who are struggling. Ama Dwimoh, special counsel to the Borough President, spoke on child abuse prevention programs to prevent tragedies such as what happened recently to Jaden Jordan; and to Nixzmary Brown in 2006. Adams last Friday launched the Operation C.A.R.E. (Child Abuse Response and Engagement) program with Dwimoh.

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Unitarian Church’s Diversity Committee Sponsors Panel on Black Lives Matter

This summer, First Unitarian Congregational Society of Brooklyn realized the significance of the Black Lives Matter message. Two of their large Black Lives Matter signs were stolen from the church fence — one of them a replacement for the first.

The congregation’s long-active Weaving the Fabric of Diversity Committee is responding to a particularly rancorous year with a forum titled Black Lives Matter on Saturday, Dec. 17. The Flatbush Avenue YMCA will host this event.

Opening speaker will be Meagan Henry, director of religious education at First Unitarian Church. Dr. Robert Waterman, head of Black Male Initiative, Medgar Evers College will moderate a panel of Devate Tate, of the Black Lives Matter NYC Coalition; Victoria Gillion, program coordinator at All Souls Church, Organizer of Black Lives Matter Joshua Davis, Medgar Evers Graduate, and Helena Stevens, NYC educator and antiracist activist.

The theft of its Black Lives Matter banners (on which the Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper group reported during the week of July 12) has not deterred the congregation and the Weaving the Fabric of Diversity Committee from doing what they can to fight prejudice and racism in Brooklyn.

Posters appeared in its framed kiosk to take the place of the stolen banners. Robert Harper and Chelsea Saunders facilitate

this committee, which a long history of community service fostered by Bob Patterson, and Derek and Rita Pearl among several other congregants. WFD recently held an Annual Interfaith Dinner with the local Muslim Community. Unitarian Universalism accepts all humanitarian beliefs and religions.

The Flatbush YMCA, where the panel discussion takes place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 17, is at 1401 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn,

between Foster Ave. and Farragut Road.

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Catholic Diocese Preps for Second Annual Crèche Blessing at Grand Army Plaza

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, with the assistance of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, will put up a 25-foot Christmas tree and install a life-sized, hand-painted Nativity at the Grand Army Plaza arch this Friday, Dec. 9. Then,

later this month, Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn, will bless the crèche during an interfaith ceremony.

Bishop DiMarzio said, “This nativity serves as a reminder that the Lord Jesus enters into the poverty of our human situation and transforms it into something noble and beautiful.” The Tuesday, Dec. 20 crèche blessing event, starting at 5:30, will include a performance by Charlie Poveromo and caroling by students from a Catholic school.

This year marks the second annual event at Grand Army Plaza for the diocese. The 2015 event marked the first crèche blessing in more than a decade.

The tree and nativity’s placement is made possible by DeSales Media Group, the communications, and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the eighth largest diocese in the United States and the only entirely urban diocese in the nation, serving

the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.

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The Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph, just a few blocks away from Grand Army Plaza, will host a spectacular family event that includes “The Miracle of Christmas” musical, a live concert, a visit from Santa, a tree-lighting ceremony, and a high-tech light show.

The evening will begin with a Christmas concert, featuring performances by Charlie Poveromo and Danny Rodriguez. “The Miracle of Christmas” tells the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The audience will experience 3D video mapping that creates elaborate virtual sets behind the actors. The show stars Aaron Heaps, who plays Joseph, and Jasmine Neil, who plays Mary. Sister Maria Amador wrote and directs this musical, whose December 14 performance will mark the show’s U.S. premiere.

Following the musical, Santa will make a special appearance. Then, the audience will be invited outdoors to enjoy the lighting of a 20-foot Christmas tree and a high-tech light show set to Christmas music. This all takes place next Wednesday, December 14 at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. at the Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph, 856 Pacific St., between Vanderbilt and Underhill avenues in Prospect Heights.

The evening’s performances will be recorded for television and will air on NET TV on Christmas Eve at 8 p.m. and Christmas Day at 7 p.m. (Cablevision 30, Time Warner 97, and Verizon FiOS 48).

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Panel Discussion Examines Israeli Geopolitical Scene

“How Do We Speak About Israel — What Do We Know?”

This question is the focus of a panel discussion bringing in political experts, a diplomat, and an author and international lawyer. This panel on Israeli geopolitics will examine topics such as: “What’s wrong and right about the Iran Deal? Where do US/Israel relations go now? Israel and the World Court, and the court of public opinion.”

Udi Sommer, Israel University professor of political science at Columbia University, Michael Goldhaber, author and International Lawyer; and Renee Albert, Hadassah’s representative to the U.N. are the panelists.

Hadassah-Brooklyn Region and the Institute for Living Judaism are the co-sponsors. Congregation Mount Sinai (250 Cadman Plaza West) hosts the panel discussion this Saturday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m. The suggestion donation is $10. Snacks will be served.

This program is part of a series that will continue on Sunday, Feb. 5 at the East Midwood Jewish Center. “How Do We Talk About Israel ON CAMPUS?” Panelists for the February program will include, as of press time, Shahar Sadeh of the Jewish Public Relations Council; Nodya Drukker, director of Brooklyn College’s Hillel community; Rabbi Rachel Timoner of Congregation Beth Elohim and Zachary Schaffer, of the JFNA/JCPA Israel Action Network.


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