The Words of the Rosenblum Family
SF Bay ACLC Prayer Breakfast Teams With Dr. King "Dream" Peace Service Project
David Rosenblum and Bento Leal
August 11, 2007
More than 70 people got up early Saturday morning, August 11, 2007, to join in one or both of two high-spirited programs, as the American Clergy Leadership Conference and Service for Peace joined forces. The ACLC prayer breakfast was held at the New Life Church of God in Christ, in Oakland. And, just a few blocks away in the adjoining neighborhoods, ACLC co-sponsored a concurrent Martin Luther King Day and Season of Service cleanup and beautification project, organized and run by Service for Peace.
We started the morning on a nice note -- as we enjoyed a delicious and lovingly prepared breakfast. After that, we climbed the stairs to the beautiful sanctuary for the program where Bishop Andre Jackson, a key national and local ACLC leader and pastor of Carriage Hills Community Church, once again served admirably in the role of MC. His words set the stage perfectly: "Martin Luther King, Jr. stood for equality, justice and community service. We’re here today to commit ourselves to that vision, and through service, to energize and uplift our communities. Service should become our character -- something we do all the time."
Opening the official program was a beautiful song "Now is the Time for a Change," by Mr. Amin Waid. Rev. Carla Jackson followed with the Goals and Objectives of ACLC. She not only read, but shared God’s heart in an intimate fashion as the audience read along. With Pastor Carla still onstage, Rev. David Rosenblum then encouraged and inspired attendees to join in with ACLC as we move forward together to serve our communities and be the voice of the prophet and conscience to our nation’s leadership.
The main presentation was given by Mr. Bill Richie, a local leader and organizer of the Martin Luther King Service for Peace community beautification and cleanup projects. His talk was heartfelt as he shared that the volunteers of Service for Peace -- by working on multiple projects throughout the area -- have helped create a consciousness and culture of service that lasts all year long." Mr. Richie then showed an audiovisual presentation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day and Season of Service through which we were urged to keep the "Dream" alive of Dr. King's August 28, 1963, message. And what better way to do so than through the service project in the nearby streets going on that very moment? As Coretta Scott King had said, the best way to honor her husband, Dr. King, is not only by celebration, remembrance, education and tribute, but above all by service.
Bishop Andre and his co-pastor wife, Carla, then introduced Rev. Alain and SiewLian Leroy to explain and lead the Marriage Blessing Ceremony, inviting all of the couples, including the singles, to participate. For many regular prayer breakfast participants, this is one of the most meaningful parts of each event, and this was no exception!
Next, the host pastor, Rev. Daniel Stevens, greeted everyone warmly, thanking all for participating. "The Bible," he preached, "tells us that ‘righteousness exalts a nation.’ Our community is built on individuals and families, and if families don’t do right, the nation and community will go down. So it’s so important for families to be strong and serve together. Martin Luther King Season of Service is an opportunity for our churches, mosques, and other places of worship to come together with the same purpose -- to serve and make our community better." He went on to say that the doors of his church will always be open for us to hold any future prayer breakfasts and other faith programs.
Afterwards more than a half dozen of us prayer breakfast participants changed into our tennis shoes, removed our ties, and rolled up our sleeves in order to help the cleanup Martin Luther King service project. Rakes, dustpans, brooms and garbage bags were ready and waiting for us as we hit the local street surrounding the church where we had been enjoying both the physical and spiritual food a short time prior to this.
After the service cleanup had concluded (it started at 9 am and ended at noon), most of the volunteers met to have some refreshments. Mr. Noel Gallo of the Oakland Parks and Recreation Department sincerely thanked the volunteers who had worked so hard as we began to enjoy some pizza and soda afterwards in the church where the prayer breakfast had taken place a few hours ago.
As we were enjoying our concluding snack together, Mr. Markus von Euw, director of Service for Peace and principal coordinator of Martin Luther King Season of Service reflected, "This is such a wonderful thing for young people to do -- serve the community. Instead of sitting at home on a Saturday morning, they’re picking up the trash on the sidewalks and streets, inspiring others to do the same."
Naomi Schmidt, an 18-year old, smiled as she mentioned that, "As young people, we dedicate a lot of time to ourselves, so it’s good to think about the bigger purpose and do something positive for the community. There’s a lot of talking -- this is love in action."
Vinnie Hagen, also 18 years old, said, "Even though I don’t live in this neighborhood, I believe that anywhere I go is my home. This street where I’m standing right now is ‘my home’ in this moment, so I want to keep it clean -- that’s my attitude."
Ernie Mims, one of the SFP organizers, said, "Transformation is the key word. By transforming the community through service, you transform yourself. People looking out their windows see the cleaning that’s going on in their street and are stimulated to come out and help. It’s like a domino effect." Social service is one of ACLC’s fundamental three pillars, and in the San Francisco Bay Area we look forward to partnering together with Service for Peace and the Martin Luther King Day and Season of Service volunteers on a consistent basis as we substantially serve our communities and those of our clergy friends.
Report by Rev. David Rosenblum and Rev. Bento Leal