Press Releases

Union County Day of Prayer Draws Hundreds in Westfield

Sid Blanchard, executive director of the nonprofit Community Access Unlimited, welcomes the crowd of hundreds to the Union County Day of Prayer held Sept. 18 at the First United Methodist Church in Westfield. Credits: Christopher Reardon
Sister Mary Carrington, vice president of missions and effectiveness at Trinitas Regional Medical Center and the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth, speaks of the Golden Rule as part of a panel discussion that also featured (seated, left to right), Rev. L.L. DuBrevil of the Faith United Church of Christ in Union, Pastor William Ingram of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Elizabeth and Imam Ali Jaaber of Masjid Darul Islam Mosque in Elizabeth. Credits: Christopher Reardon

It was a message of communication, inclusion and commitment to community for the good of the community – of treating others with caring and holding those who do not accountable.

The Union County Day of Prayer, held Thursday, Sept. 18, at the First United Methodist Church in Westfield, drew hundreds to hear those messages, as delivered by a slate of leaders from houses of worship from throughout Union County and the nonprofit community.

The Day of Prayer, the first of a planned annual celebration, was an interfaith gathering of the faith-based, nonprofit and government communities to unite people from throughout the county regardless of race, religion or disability and to bring greater awareness of the support services available to them, according to Sid Blanchard, executive director of Community Access Unlimited (CAU).

Sign Up for E-News

CAU provides support programs and services to people with disabilities and youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, in areas including housing, vocational and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.

The event was sponsored by the Union County Interfaith Coordinating Committee Council, an organization comprising 40 interfaith congregations and community-based nonprofits, including CAU, the driving force behind creation of the council. The council was formed to promote inclusion of all people within the community, without regard to race, religion or disability, and to create a clearing house of faith-based, nonprofit and government community services available to the public, according to Blanchard.

"Being part of the community is a full-time job and the steering committee and members of the Interfaith Council are bringing important services to the community," said Blanchard, who sited information about employment opportunities, the entitlements – including support for seniors, children and families with members with special needs – and record expungement programs.

"Our mission at Community Access is for our members to live fulfilling lives within the community," he said. "But in order for there to be a community, there needs to be a cohesive and caring community of people. We hope tonight inspires others to talk to each other and put their caring into action."

The theme of the evening was "The Ethics of Reciprocity – Your Faith, Your Golden Rule." Attendees heard multiple readings from the Bible and Koran and a panel discussion about what the reciprocity of faith, or Golden Rule, means within different faiths.

The panel discussion featured Imam Ali Jaaber of Masjid Darul Islam Mosque in Elizabeth; Sister Mary Carrington, vice president of missions and effectiveness at Trinitas Regional Medical Center and the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth; Pastor William Ingram of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Elizabeth; and Rev. L.L. DuBrevil of the Faith United Church of Christ in Union. Rev. Erica Crawford of the Ebenezer African Methodist Episcopal Church in Rahway served as the discussion facilitator.

Imam Ali Jaaber quoted from the Koran, saying, "We have made you tribes so you may know one another."

Sister Carrington said the Golden Rule "allows us to accept the process of change" for the better.

Rev. Ingram said, "There is more that unites us than separates us" and quoted from Martin Luther King Jr., who said, "We will either dwell together as brothers and sisters or we will perish."

Rev. DuBrevil said The Golden Rule Transcends all religions and cultures and that those who obey the rule must hold those who don't accountable for the good of the community.

"As people of faith, we're the ones who have to hold their feet to the fire," using education, advocacy, activism, legislation and judicial action, as said.

About CAU

Community Access Unlimited (CAU), celebrating its 35th anniversary, supports people with special needs in achieving real lives in the community.  CAU provides support and gives a 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 rights.  CAU serves more than 5,000 individuals each year.  For more information about CAU and its services, contact us by phone at 908.354.3040, online at or by mail at 80 West Grand Street, Elizabeth, NJ 07202.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Fanwood Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Mobile Meals of Westfield

April 22, 2018

FANWOOD, NJ  — At the Fanwood Borough Council meeting on Monday, April 16, Mayor Colleen Mahr read a resolution acknowledging Mobile Meals' 50th anniversary and presented it to volunteers Nancy Otchy and Josephine Walsh.

Mobile Meals, based in Westfield, delivers meals to thousands of area residents every day. The organization passed its one millionth meal delivery several ...

2018 Municipal Budget is on Collision Course with Principles of Financial Soundness & Stability

April 18, 2018

Having chaired the town council’s finance committee in the recent past, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing a municipal budget for a town as large and dynamic as Westfield. But as I have expressed publicly and also to the mayor and my council colleagues, I do not support the adoption of Westfield’s 2018 municipal budget. Although the budget contains much that I ...

Upcoming Events


Sun, April 22, 11:00 AM

Roosevelt Intermediate School , Westfield

Greta's Run

Giving Back Sports


Sun, April 22, 12:00 PM

James Ward Mansion, Westfield

Westfield Sandwich Fest

Food & Drink


Sun, April 22, 12:00 PM


Westfield 2018 Earth Day Celebration


Westfield Police Blotter: Residence Burglarized & More

April 18, 2018

April 11, 2018 10:23 a.m.

Raymond Rodgers, 56, of Westfield, NJ was arrested in the area of E. Broad Street. Rodgers was arrested pursuant to an unrelated traffic investigation. Rogers was transported to Westfield Police HQ without incident. At WPD HQ, Rodgers was processed and released after posting the full bail amount ($250). Rodgers was arrested on the strength of an outstanding Westfield ...

Wardlaw+Hartridge Students Share Talents at Music Recital

April 22, 2018

he Music Department at The Wardlaw+Hartridge School in Edison staged its annual Spring Music Recital, and it was another spectacular show.

Held in the new Berry Performing Arts Center for the first time, this year's recital featured many of the school's most talented vocal and instrumental performers.

Students who participated in the recital included: Aum Mehta of Edison ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Edison Students Participate in Beta Test of Google Augmented Reality App

Students and teachers at Edison Intermediate School participated in a recent beta test of a Google application that uses augmented reality technology to explore the inner workings of plant cells, the functions and framework of the human skeletal system, and other educational subjects.

Edison Media Specialist Andrew Cusumano arranged for a Google representative to visit the school on April 9 to ...

Get Your Home Ready for Summer Before its TOO HOT

Finally, the weather is getting warmer and you are shedding those down coats. Now is a great time to start thinking about summer and getting your home prepared. Paying attention to a few maintenance items can alleviate painful repairs later on if you wait too long. The line ahead of you will build as the summer rush starts. So, let’s not wait.

Check your roof   (hire the expert ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

Mets Sign Patriots Pitcher Before He Can Unpack His Gear

April 20, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ — The Somerset Patriots have announced that right-hand pitcher Scott Copeland’s contract has been purchased by the New York Mets.

So, instead of stretching out and getting in shape at TD Bank Ballpark, he's been sent to extended spring training at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

The 6’3” righty broke into the big leagues in ...