At a time when religion and race are being leveraged for political gain and intolerance for those who differ from us is stoked daily, comes the third annual Union County Day of Prayer.
"Day of Prayer and Reflection: Honoring People of All Faith Communities" will be held Wednesday, Oct. 5, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Parish Community of St. Helen at 1600 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.
The annual Day of Prayer is an interfaith gathering of the faith-based, nonprofit and government communities to unite people from throughout the county regardless of religion, race or disability, according to Pastor Carmine Pernini of the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rahway and a member of the steering committee of the Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council, which sponsors the event each year.
The Day of Prayer will feature prayers, songs and meditations of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Sikhs from throughout Union County and neighboring counties, Pernini said. A full list of participating houses of worship can be found at http://www.caunj.org/?page_id=3668.
"Just as there are many causes of division, there are just as many responses to division for the cause of unity," he said. "For many, divisive rhetoric, intentions and laws must be met with action in the form of public demonstrations.
"Despite divisions among religious traditions, there are commonalities. Prayer is one such commonality. Our prayers often reflect the world not as it is, but what it could be, perhaps even what God wants it to be, and we hope our annual Day of Prayer helps us collectively move in that direction."
The Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council is an organization comprising interfaith congregations and community-based nonprofits, including Community Access Unlimited (CAU). The council promotes inclusion of all people within the community and creates a clearing house of faith-based, nonprofit and government community services available to the public while bringing greater awareness of these services to the greater community, according to Sid Blanchard, executive director of CAU.
CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based nonprofit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, providing supports in areas including housing, vocational skills and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.
To register, visit www.caunj.org and click on the Upcoming Events button, or call 908.354.3040, ext. 4324. Registration is not required to attend.
About Community Access Unlimited
Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 37th year in 2016, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU provides support and gives voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little support and no voice in society. CAU helps people with housing, life skills, employment, money management, socialization and civic activities. CAU also supports opportunities for advocacy through training in assertiveness, decision-making and civil right. CAU currently serves more than 6,000 individuals and families, with the number served growing each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at www.caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.