Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 44
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
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Holt Hosts Area Religious Leaders In “A Truly Inspiring” D.C. Day

Ellen Gilbert

“We had a truly inspiring day,” enthused Nassau Presbyterian Church Reverend Elizabeth Schultz, describing a recent D.C. Day hosted by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.-12) for more than 60 religious leaders from his central New Jersey district.

Other local participants included representatives from the Mount Pisgah A.M.E. Church, the N.J. Buddhist Vihara, Princeton Theological Seminary, The Crisis Ministry of Princeton and Trenton, and the Religious Ministries of the Princeton Healthcare System.

The day was a follow-up to the Three Faiths Walks that Rep. Holt helped initiate in Mercer, Middlesex, and Monmouth Counties in May. Cosponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action and Fellowship in Prayer, nearly 100 Jews, Christians, and Muslims marched together in Trenton as part of a statewide initiative to promote religious understanding.

D.C. Day participants met with members of Congress, executive branch staff, and national religious leaders to discuss faith-based issues facing their communities and the nation. Participants learned how to connect with federal agencies to access resources, and participate in existing programs that could potentially benefit their communities.

The attendees also had the opportunity to view rare religious texts at the Library of Congress. At Mr. Holt’s invitation, one participant, Reverend Darrell Armstrong of Shiloh Baptist Church in Trenton, delivered the opening prayer at the House of Representatives.

“These religious leaders have a unique perspective on the challenges facing our communities,” Mr. Holt said. “Hearing their ideas on issues affecting Central New Jersey and the nation is vital, and I’m glad they had the opportunity to have a frank discussion with policy-makers in Washington. I look forward to continuing the dialogue in the coming months.”

“Representative Holt was an incredible host, giving us the opportunity to hear from revered and respected leaders who inspired us with their stories of faith and their passion for service,” said Reverend Schultz. Two other individuals from Nassau Presbyterian Church, Tom Charles and Bill Wakefield, also attended the program.

Throughout the year, Mr. Holt hosts D.C. Days to bring representatives of various New Jersey groups to Washington for discussions with policy makers and opinion leaders. Speakers at the religious leaders’ D.C. Day included New Jersey native and Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua Dubois; U.S. Representatives John Lewis (Ga.), Keith Ellison (Minn.), David Price (N.C.), Tom Perriello (Va.), and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.); House Chaplain Reverend Daniel Coughlin; Director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Luis Lugo; President of the Faith and Policy Institute Reverend Clete Kiley; Department of Homeland Security staffer Jannah Scott; Mark Linton of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Department of Commerce representative Cedric Grant; Alexia Kelley, of the Department of Health and Human Services; Department of Agriculture representative Max Finburg; Rabbi David Saberstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; and Joe Volk, Executive Secretary of Friends Committee on National Legislation.

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