Elizabeth, NJ – With partisan turmoil in Washington splitting the nation ideologically, the fifth annual Union County Day of Prayer promises to deliver a message of unity, embracement of diversity and community goodwill on Oct. 9 at St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church in Scotch Plains. 

From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., "Union County Day of Prayer: Striving to Make a Beloved Community" will feature first-time speakers representing the Sikh and Hindu faiths: Navdeep Tucker, a Sikh from DashMesh Darbar Gurudwara in Carteret, and Sharmila D. Jaipersaud, a seasoned Hindu speaker and attorney.

Also speaking will be Rev. Fletcher Harper, executive director of Greenfaith, an organization dedicated to educating and mobilizing people across all religions for environmental leadership. 

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They will join representatives from Catholic, Baptist, Presbyterian, Quaker, Unitarian Universalist, Jewish and other community houses of worship from throughout Union County and beyond for an evening of prayer, readings, meditations, and music.  

The annual public event, which drew more than 650 attendees in 2017, is a gathering of interfaith communities, nonprofits and government bodies from across Union County, according to Deacon Tim Williams of the First Baptist Church in Kenilworth. Williams is chairman of the steering committee for Union County Interfaith Coordinating Council (UCICC), which sponsors the event each year. 

UCICC promotes inclusion of all people within the community and creates a clearinghouse of faith-based, nonprofit and government community services available to the public, promoting greater awareness of these services, according to Sid Blanchard, executive director of the nonprofit Community Access Unlimited (CAU) and co-founder of the council. 

CAU, a Union County-based, statewide nonprofit that strives to integrate people with disabilities and at-risk youth into the general community, supports its members with housing, vocational and life-skills training, education, advocacy, and recreation.

About Community Access Unlimited

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 39th year in 2018, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community. CAU gives a voice to adults and youth who traditionally have little power in society, assisting its members 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 rights. Currently serving more than 5,000 individuals and families, CAU continues to grow each year. For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, info@caunj.org or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.