One of the first events for Acting Mayor Kim Janey was a memorable prayer service last Friday, March 26, at the South End’s Lion of Judah Church on Northampton Street.
Religious leaders from across the City and from many different faiths gathered at the Lion of Judah Church in the South End to pray over Janey and the new Administration – something that was also done five years ago for Gov. Charlie Baker also.
“This has become part of what is done,” said Pastor Roberto Miranda, of Lion of Judah. “We’re blessed and honored to host the service. It was a great moment and all the faith leaders were here…It’s an honor and a great privilege to host that. In particular because Lion of Judah takes its civil role very seriously. We believe the church has to be engaged in the community and not just confined within our four walls…We play a role in the community and we serve the community and to have a government leader come into our building is very significant and truly what we believe in – that these two entities have to rely on each other.”
Miranda, members of the church and Samuel Acevedo, executive director of the church’s Higher Education Resource Center, all participated in the ceremony or welcoming the guests to the sanctuary and post-reception. Pastor Miranda said it was an important move by Acting Mayor Janey to allow an Hispanic church to host the ceremony.
“Sometimes we’re the last of all minorities to play a role and be considered in any issues,” he said. “We’re a third-class minority at times. I think it’s important for Latino churches to pay that role and have a place in the public square. It’s good for our people and our church to play a role.”
Janey said she was happy to have the blessings of faith leaders from all over the City, something that she found very unique.
“As a woman of faith, I know the power of prayer,” said Janey. “I am deeply grateful for the blessings of Boston’s diverse faith community. I look forward to leading our city guided by the love, truth and justice that binds us all.”
The program included an invocation, prayers, the laying of hands, and remarks from Mayor Janey. Faith leaders in attendance included Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston; Rabbi TiferetBerenbaum of Temple Beth Zion; Reverend Miniard Culpepper of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church; Reverend, Dr. Roberto Miranda, Lion of Judah Church; Dr. Yousef Abouallaban, Islamic Society of Boston; Reverend Willie Bodrick II, Twelfth Baptist Church; Reverend, Dr. Nancy S. Taylor, Old South Church; Minister Randy Muhammed, Nation of Islam; and Reverend Samuel Acevedo, Congregación Leon de Judá.
Said Pastor Miranda, “In a time where all of America is rent by the violence of racial and political discord, she stands as a symbol of hope for a city that, though enlightened in many ways, has not escaped the blemish of racial discrimination in its own history. We pray that she will be a force for unity, and that under her administration Boston will lead our nation as a city of honest dialogue and racial reconciliation.”
“More than 65 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King was awarded a Doctorate from Boston University,” said Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM, Cap. “One of Dr. King’s earliest public actions was to stand in solidarity with — and in defense of — Ms. Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who held fast to the inalienable rights accorded to her as a citizen. Today, Mayor Kim Janey, the first African-American and first woman to serve as Mayor of Boston, gives witness to Ms. Park’s determination and self-assurance built on a foundation of hard work, truth and justice. We welcome Mayor Janey with congratulations, prayer and the commitment to support her efforts to lift up the City of Boston as a shining light of opportunity for all people.”
Said Rabbi Berenbaum, “I was driving along the Pike the other day, and there was a picture of Mayor Janey on a building. I was thrilled to point to the new Mayor and show my daughter someone who looks like her.”
“All religious orders represented here today are praying for the success of this historic occasion of Boston’s first Black and woman Mayor,” said Reverend Culpepper. “We pray that this Sunday all churches will unite in prayer for Mayor Janey. The church that prays together, stays together.”
Pastor Miranda said having such a group of leaders in Boston comes with no animosity whatsoever. He said that is unique and a great part of being a faith leader in the city.
“I can certainly say there is very little animosity between the various faith leaders in the city,” he said. “We all respect and appreciate each other and coincide with each other…There is a good sense of camaraderie. We like and respect each other.”