Lake Prince Woods Chaplain Gary Newsome Moderates Historic Clergy Meeting

July 22, 2020

The meeting was held on Tuesday July 14th at Lake Prince woods Retirement Community.  In attendance were white Pastors from prominent historical Churches composed of varying denominations. This group organized by the name Suffolk Clergy United met with prominent African American Pastors organized as Suffolk Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. The purpose of the meeting was to address the issue of strengthening our local community, understanding the history of division between these groups, and answering the question of how can both groups get to know one another, identify obstacles that hinder partnership, and to heal for the greater good of the community. Gary Newsome, Chaplain of Lake Prince Woods moderated the forum along with SIMA president Reverend Henry Diggs. The forum was met with enthusiasm and openness, recognizing the strengths and commitments from all who were involved. Key conclusions were:
• It will take time and “plowing” to get to know one another. 
• Commit to relationship building, heart Change, and intentionality.
• Develop small group prayer for designated churches and their ministries.
• Continue tradition of pulpit exchange (interculturally) during Lenten and Holy week seasons.
• Establish periodic forums to discuss police reform and apprehension tactics in our community.
• Invite local Sheriff to attend to educate Pastors and inform for greater understanding.

The meeting ended with each Pastor praying and taking group pictures (with masks on).  One of the Pastors who has pastored over 20 years in the area, gave a special statement of gratitude because he rehabbed in our skilled unit for a month and thanked our facility for the great care he received.  President Henry Diggs, on behalf of SIMA presented our facility with gifts of socks and masks. I believe we have broken new ground with the “breaking of bread” for all who attended. Special thanks and gratitude to Lake Prince Woods Executive Director, Judy Raymond who suggested and gave the ok for this very important and historic meeting to take place. 

“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success”
“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided”.

Chaplain Gary Newsome, Lake Prince Woods