On Saturday, August 20th, the 69th Precinct Clergy Council, led by President Reverend Cecil Moonsam, held its annual Community Outreach and Gospel Splash at Canarsie Park where several churches congregated for a communal worship. And contrary to past practices, the Council’s theme song, “Every Praise,” by Hezekiah Walker, was played at the beginning, rather than at the end, of the event. People immediately sprang to their feet, danced, sang, lifted their arms and shouted praises to God.
According to Rev. Moonsam, the event was organized to allow the community, NYPD and clergy to come together and celebrate the peace and unity of Canarsie. This is in keeping with the Clergy Council’s charter to function as a liaison between the NYPD and the community.
After welcoming everyone, including parkgoers enjoying their private picnics and other celebrations, Rev. Moonsam said an opening prayer. “God, we thank You for Your many Blessings on the community and especially for protecting the NYPD as they protect us. We know You have a plan and a purpose for what we are doing in this community.” He then introduced the 69th Precinct Marching Band, which made quite a splash, as they paraded into the park from Seaview Avenue and East 87th Street. The band delighted parkgoers with renditions of “When The Saints Go Marching In,” “How Great Thou Art” and “Stand By Me.”
Commanding Officer of the 69th Precinct, Captain Khandakar Abdullah, was all smiles as he thanked the Clergy Council for making the event possible. “Everyone knows how much the Clergy Council does for the community and that’s what we want. To work together to improve our community,” he stated.
Clergy Council Board member, Reverend Gail Forde, who runs Phileo Outreach International Ministry, also said a prayer of thanks and protection for the community. “God, we are grateful to You. We ask You to move in the economy of Canarsie. Come in and minister to every home by Your Holy Spirit. Take authority over every act of gun violence and cleanse the atmosphere,” she implored.
Another Clergy Council member, Pastor Adrian Case from Beulah SDA Church, prayed for the youths. “The devil is using the young people, Lord. Let them know the answer is You. Tend to them. Minister to their hearts.” His son Jaydon-Lee, sang “Our God” by Chris Tomlin and was happy to make a speech afterwards. “Always trust in God. God is your Rock. Believe in Jesus no matter what,” the 8-year-old said amid thunderous applause. Another Chris Tomlin favorite, “How Great Is Our God,” was performed by Ms. Fanyu Hercules from Phileo Outreach.
A group of children, who listed their ages as 9 through 12, distributed flyers about their church, New Beginnings In Christ, and eagerly talked over each other as they explained the church’s prison outreach ministry! Christian rapper, Quincy, then recited a series of poems that told the moving story of his entire life.
Throughout the afternoon, another Clergy Council Board member, Reverend Mullery Jean-Pierre of Beraca Baptist Church, canvassed the area, handing out dozens of children’s books, prayer books and Daily Devotionals. The Clergy Council also gave away a large number of flash drives with gospel music, autographed Bibles, engraved pens and other religious material. A prayer booth, ran by Clergy Council Chaplain LaFlora, was also set up in the park to accommodate anyone who needed special prayers.
At the end, Clergy Council Chaplain Norman Dowell said a closing prayer for “peace, love, compassion, mercy and protection to envelope the Canarsie community.”
“Remember,” he proclaimed loudly, “Jesus is the only way, one way or the other!”