Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Rev. Donald R. Scurry of Joshua Christian Church at the Chapel of the Chimes annual clergy appreciation. Photo by Eric Marshall Photography.
Historically and traditionally, houses of worship have been known for being a sanctuary and place to receive food and shelter. They are also known for feeding and clothing the poor in their surrounding communities.
Since 2009, Chapel of the Chimes and the NAACP have partnered in celebrating the leaders of humanitarian sanctuaries. Rev. J. Alfred Smith Sr., pastor emeritus of Allen Temple Baptist Church was the first recipient.
On this year’s anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, local and federal dignitaries convened with invited guests, including the Oakland police chief and the Oakland schools’ superintendent, to honor four of the finest religious heroes in Oakland.
The evening began with all standing and singing the Negro National Anthem.
Honorees were: Rev. Clarence L. Johnson of Mills Grove Christian Church (DOC), Rev. Torrin Newsome of Citadel of Praise, Rev. Donald R. Scurry of Joshua Christian Church and Rev. J Alfred Smith Jr.
Rev. Cynthia Carter Perrialiatt received Rev. Smith’s award on his behalf.
“It doesn’t take a large congregation or a big group of people to get the job done,” said Pastor Newsome.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said, “It was such an honor to be in the company of such dynamic honorees after honoring this historic day of loss.”
She recognized all the future leaders present who were working with a long-term vision for the entire community. She congratulated the NAACP and the pastors for, “investing in the future of our children,” and requested that all think of 2018 as the year of our students.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee told the four awardees, “You inspire me.”
She asked for all to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11. She said she personally knew one of the plane victims, former Assemblymember Sandre Swanson’s cousin who died on Flight #93.
Congresswoman Lee thanked the NAACP for “fighting the good fight”.