Interfaith gathering discussing the Golden Rule and welfare

UNION COUNTY – The Union County Interfaith Coordinating Committee Council will host a ‘Day of Prayer’ event Thursday, Sept. 18, at the First United Methodist Church in Westfield, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The council, comprised of 40 congregations and community-based nonprofits, was formed to promote inclusion of all people regardless of race, religion or disability, to create a clearing house of community services available to the public, according to Sid Blanchard, executive director of Community Access Unlimited (CAU), the driving force behind creation of the council.

“Our goal for the Day of Prayer is to mark an annual event from which to build interfaith efforts within Union County on a 365 day basis, not just a once-a-year holiday event,” Blanchard said. “To allow the faith-based leaders and their congregations from all different religions throughout the county an opportunity to network with others and bring back to their own communities the benefits of being part of the Interfaith Council.”

The Day of Prayer will feature a discussion on what the Golden Rule means in different religions by a panel facilitated by Rev. Dr. Erika Crawford of the Ebenezer AME Church in Rahway and co-chair of the event. The Golden Rule, or Ethics of Reciprocity, encourages treating others as one wishes to be treated.

“Our goal is to build within Union County a base of communities who care about their neighbors and their neighborhoods and are willing to work together to make them a better quality place to live,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard said that includes not only advancing interfaith inclusion and acceptance but also more broadly promoting the services that are offered to the community by nonprofits such as CAU and government agencies, including the New Jersey Division of Family and Children Services and the Department of Human Services of Union County.

“If someone needs a job, it doesn’t make a difference if they are Jewish, Muslim or Christian,” said Pastor William Ingram of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Elizabeth, co-chair of the Day of Prayer.

Those wishing to participate in the Union County Day of Prayer should make reservation by contacting Aleyah Lacey at Community Access Unlimited at 908-354-3040, ext. 324, or

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