EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - On Wednesday night, July 31, 2019, officers from the East Brunswick Police Department were appointed and promoted in a ceremony of honor. At the conclusion of the event, Reverend Erica Munoz of Aldersgate Methodist Church, home of the Aldersgate Outreach Community Center, Food Bank, and Diaper Bank, closed the ceremony with the following benediction:
"For every ending, there’s a beginning... For every memory, there’s a dream ahead.
As we conclude this ceremony, May we forever be in awe of all that had to happen in our lives to be here … right now. As officers of the law and civilians called to follow, may we walk the walk of compassion, and bring compassion to the center of our lives in all that we do and say.
May we cultivate the capacity to see the humanity and dignity of those who disagree with us, and to treat all people, no matter how different, with the reverence they deserve.
May we live a purpose bigger than ourselves, understanding that when we do, you and I will begin to transcend our limitations and discover ourselves to be far greater than we have ever imagined.
May we recognize that our lives will be measured not by the titles we carry, but by the number of hearts we heal and the lives we transform within our work as first responders of this community and simply as brothers and sisters working toward unity and peace.
May we be vigilant, such that in our toil and labor of service, our hearts don’t become hardened, our eyes don’t become blind, that we don’t forget where we came from nor neglect those we are meant to serve.
May we realize that change doesn’t magically happen; That everything worthy requires effort and sacrifice; That in order to accomplish things we’ve never accomplished; To become people we’ve never been, we must make sacrifices we’ve never made and do things we’ve never done...and be courageous and bold enough to be the change we wish to see in this place and in this time.
May we always be mindful that that the thoughts we dwell on become us, and that everything you and I put out into the world is going to come back...for we are called across faith traditions, religions, institutions, and as created human beings.
Indeed, what you do unto others, it will be done unto you.
May we walk away from this celebration tonight determined to find ways to an inspired life; Absorb the inspiration of others; and become an inspiration and a presence of safety and protection for all we serve in this community.
May we all walk away with the will and courage to move beyond ourselves and leave our noble mark on our beloved community - filled with peace, love, respect.* But most of all, on night such as this, may we remember to thank God for each of you. For you saw the need in your community. You looked in the mirror and said, “I can’t do everything, but I can do something.”
You signed up for training. You studied countless hours; you sweated through exams and waited for the results. You showed up for drills, when you might have spent the evening or the Saturday with family and friends.
Don’t ever forget…You are a blessing, and we thank God for you.
You got the pager and the uniform. You took on the responsibility to respond when your neighbors, your friends, or even a stranger passing through needed someone to help. The pager went off during dinner; it went off during the big game; it went off when you finally fell asleep at the end of a long day. You grabbed your gear, and went to the building, to the scene. You set aside your comfort and your plans, that someone else might have life, or hope, or comfort.
Don’t ever forget...You are a blessing, and we thank God for you.
Then came the tough call. Too young. The long-time neighbor. The unimaginable scene. You gave your best. Then you went home, and hugged your loved ones, and prayed for those who had lost so much. You wondered if you’d done enough.
Don’t ever forget...You are a blessing, and we thank God for you. We give thanks to God for you.
You exemplify for us, and for the next generation, the values of courage and service and commitment.
You do not seek or wish our recognition, but tonight we say thank you for all you do, quietly, faithfully, each day to make our community stronger.
You are a blessing, and we thank God for you. ** All of this...let us pray and give thanks in the name of our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer...Amen."
Prayers adapted from Dr. Fazlul Kabir* and Rev. Karen A. Monk**