Mount Vernon — Mayor Richard W. Thomas called for an end-of-the-year Clergy breakfast meeting, Thursday, December 29th at 10:00 A.M., in the Mayor’s Conference Room in City Hall, but the president of the United Black Clergy refused the mayor’s invitation and ‘Says No To The Devil.’ Mayor Thomas called for a prayer breakfast after the Christmas Morning Massacre at the Mansion nightclub that left one dead and as many as seven shot.
Bishop C. Nathan Edwers, the Senior Pastor of the Friendship Worship Center, stood his ground on morality and integrity in refusing the invitation from Mount Vernon Mayor Richard W. Thomas, Democrats Exposed reported in an email blast.
“Like many residents, Bishop Edwers was once a staunch supporter of Thomas, but many recent events have led many Mt. Vernon residents to rethink their choice in who they elected to be the Mayor,” the local blog wrote.
According to the local blog, Bishop Edwers sent out the following statement, not only refusing the mayor’s invitation, but calling for all clergy not to ‘sell out the community for a breakfast and a parking pass.’
“I have chosen not to support the Thomas Administration nor attend his breakfast. Many clergy members of our City aren’t on board with his policies and actions. The past year has demonstrated that Mayor Thomas hasn’t shown good will by considering the moral voice of the Mount Vernon clergy. I am appealing to all clergy to be watchful and understand the issues. Let me illustrate my point, having breakfast with the Devil won’t charge him or put out his fire it only empowers the Devil.
We must speak truth to power and speak that truth from the pulpit and not eat breakfast with a Mayor who have shown his hand. Mount Vernon clergy, please don’t sell out our community for breakfast and parking pass. Please don’t reduce our authority for photo opts and citation that has been devalued because Mr. Thomas distributed them to everyone. Clergy strong to against with voice and say enough is enough. ”
Bishop C. Nathan Edwers
Mayor Thomas and his spokesperson Maria Donovan (who was issued a letter from the comptroller’s office to vacate her office effective Thursday as per Residency Requirement Ordinance) did not return our requests for comment on the breakfast. Mayor Thomas did not post any pictures or information about the meeting with clergy on his Facebook page. He also did not broadcast the meeting as he has been known to do either.
Mayor Thomas’ office did however sent a copy of his veto message to the City Council detailing his objections to the residency ordinance and the significant legal ramifications associated with such an act. We will post in its entirety with our story on the passing of residency requirement ordinance, which will run this evening.
BW was informed there were about 15 or so members of the clergy in attendance at the breakfast, but most we reached out to were not willing to speak on the record for or against the meeting or confirm whether or not they attended. One member of the clergy, who was in attendance but asked to remain anonymous however did inform BW that the meeting was an informative year in review sort of meeting.
Reverend Troy P. DeCohen, Senior Pastor of the Mount Vernon Heights Congregational Church (United Church of Christ) one of the Pastors who is often outspoken and is not afraid to stand up for the community did send Black Westchester Magazine a statement.
“I don’t speak for all clergy, especially since we haven’t met collectively to discuss the Mayor’s administration and the harm it has caused our community,” Rev DeCohen tells BW. “Nonetheless I am in agreement with Bishop Edwers that this administration has hurt our community. That no one of Faith should join in with the Mayor. No Clergy of good conscience should be in association with an administration that is mafia control. The city is out of control. They have fired most of every African-American in leadership and replaced them with second rated people from outside our community. They have not supported the youth, the disenfranchised, the homeless with cuts to their programs i.e. Soup Kitchen 20k cuts, the music school removed from its location and his crazy rent increase to the West Help Family Shelter from 15k- 45k a month. Hiring a Waste Management owner to be deputy Police Commissioner, and strong arming store owners to use R&S Waste Management services. Illegal tearing down homes, the destruction and dismantle of the Department of Buildings, threatening City employees, disrespecting City Council Officials, threatening the City Comptroller and the list goes on. Most people don’t know of all that he has done to harm and to destroy our system of Government and his pursuit to line up the benefits of mafia influences. Bishop Edwers is correct that what has come upon our community is evil and as Clergy leaders we are mandated by our CALL of GOD to stand up for JUSTICE even when it is not popular. To stand up for what is RIGHT is hard and it takes people of COURAGE to do it. Mt. Vernon we are in a fight and we cannot get weak and comprises our integrity to sit at a table with someone who wants to harm the people who GOD has CALL us to defend. Jesus said I am the Good Shepherd of the Sheep and I lay down my life for my friends!”
BW was also informed that Mayor Thomas swore in two new police officers during the meeting with the clergy. However the Mayor’s office and Acting Police Commissioner Ronald Fatigate would not confirm or deny this when we reached out to them. Stay tuned for more on the new MVPD officers as information becomes available.
“If the Mayor is serious about prayer let’s meet in church house not City Hall,” Bishop Edwers tells BW. “Let’s invite the public and have true prayer meeting. They talk about separation of Church and State when it is convenient for political gain. Please stop making the only sacred thing we have, PRAYER, a joke.”
***** Updated Thursday, December 29th at 2:55P.M to include Rev. Troy P. DeCohen’s statement*****
AJ Woodson is the Editor-In-Chief of Black Westchester and Co-Owner of Urban Soul Media Group, the parent company, Host & Producer of the People Before Politics Radio Show. AJ is a Father, Brother, An Author, Journalism Fellow (Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism), Hip-Hop Artist - one third of the legendary underground rap group JVC FORCE known for the single Strong Island, Radio Personality, Hip-Hop Historian, Documentarian, Activist, Criminal Justice Advocate and Freelance Journalist whose byline has appeared in several print publications and online sites including The Source, Vibe, the Village Voice, Upscale, Sonicnet.com, Launch.com, Rolling Out Newspaper, Daily Challenge Newspaper, Spiritual Minded Magazine, Word Up! Magazine, On The Go Magazine and several others.