The Mount Calvary Baptist Church honored new Gov. Phil Murphy (D) and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop during Thursday night’s ceremonial tribune between state and church.
Alma Cox, who was a coordinator of the event, located at 99 Linden Ave., with Rev TL Staggers, performed “America the Beautiful” and the “National Anthem” with the help of the MT Calvary choir to honor the elected officials.
“People want to say that state and church do not mix and that they don’t go together, but I want you to know that church has its place and politics has it’s place. We all live in the community so we all need one another,” said Rev. Priscilla M. Joyner of Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Jersey City.
“So we come in support of all our electoral people who are in position who we voted in. We in the community and we in the church are saying we are here,” said Joyner.
” … Let us not seek the republican answer or the democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us except our own responsibility for the future,” he added, quoting President John F. Kennedy.
After the mass choir rejoiced in song, Rev. Paul Bellan-Boyer and Victor Negron Jr. prayed to the community and officials about unity, strength, guidance, peace and love.
Murphy, who formally succeeded Chris Christie as governor on Tuesday, spoke on the collaboration between Jersey City, more prominently Hudson County and the state legislature.
While suggesting New Jersey politicians may not always agree when resolving issues throughout the state, his clear message was unity between communities and the administration.
“My message would be a simple one: and I think no community and no county will benefit more from putting the us versus them division of politics, of schisms that have separated us in the rear view mirror and find a common ground,” said Murphy.
Murphy also vowed to pen an executive order to implement equal pay for workers whether there’s a difference in race, religion, disability, sexual-orientation or gender.
Mayor Fulop praised the new government for the possible liaison between local and state government.
“For the first time, in eight years, we have a governor that’s going to be a partner for us,” said Fulop.
“I know that we’ve achieved a lot despite the headache coming out of Trenton. What we can achieve when we have someone who is working with us, the sky has no limit,” he said.
Dignitaries in attendance included state Senator Sandra Cunningham, Assemblywoman Angela McKnight, Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti (all D-31), Council President Rolando Lavarro, Councilwomen Joyce Watterman, Denise Ridley, and Mira Prinz-Arey, as well as Freeholders Bill O’Dea (D-2), Anthony L Romano (D-5), Jerry Walker (D-3) also were in attendance.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Rev. Nathaniel Legay, the president of of the Jersey City chapter of the NAACP, participated in the ceremony. While he was listed in the program, he did not attend. We regret the error.