The singing & music was marvelous with Rev. Jamila Woods-Jones as the soloist, accompanied by pianist Richard Elihu Payne who also sang - there was also a back up vocalist and a drummer but their names were not on the order of service. The songs were evangelical, but I can move that way since they're so powerful and inspirational in tone. It didn't appear that the rabbi was enjoying them, though.
Pastor Saroj Sangha of the host church, Cheverly United Methodist, gave the call to worship and welcome and moderated the ceremony.
I took note of some of the speakers and their emphasis for the service/ceremony:
Father Kennedy from St. Ambrose Catholic Church, spoke of selfless service after mentioning people not trusting institutional leaders (those in religion & government due to things you may be aware of, but also others) and they must serve the people (speaking specifically about himself and Rushern Baker, our new County Executive). He used no separating language - his presentation was truly interfaith.
Apostle McGoodman of Christ International Ministries said that the Hebrew word for "blessing" is "barrack" - our President's name. He said we need blessings in this county. We need to excel in all things at all times; to adjust all things toward the divine purpose. He directed to Baker, "may your end be greater than your beginning."
Rabbi Weisman from Temple Solel spoke next, saying "someone must follow that" since Apostle McGoodman's delivery was so powerful. The Rabbi was applauded (before and after those opening remarks). He said that not by might or power we celebrate commonality. He preached in Hebrew & English of the "God of Us All" - the congregation murmured agreement. "One is honored who honors his fellow man." He spoke of ethics and "re-dedication of our county's leaders".
Rev. Hlatshwayo, Chair of the Division for Church in Society of Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod, ELCA, the only female clergy on the panel, was notably short for the pulpit and she joked about it (she was also hidden when sitting in the front as she was behind two large male clergy- many photos were taken and may appear in the newspaper). I know her as active in interfaith (community organizing) work. She said that this Inauguration is in the season of Advent that stands for change and renewal. His vision and challenge are great. She said it's not about "you", speaking to Baker, "it's about all of us." She told the story of going to the promise land in Egypt which included rebellions and Moses had a challenge - it took 40 yrs., but hopefully it won't take us that long. She charged him to use "justice and equity...as a person of integrity."
A surprise speaker, not in the order of service made the service more interfaith and diverse, was Imam Lamptey from Ghana. He talked about diversity and read in another language (possibly Arabic since it's the official language of the Quran). He said, "After the storm, after the rain is the rainbow...Brother Baker, and other officials, be honest...seek advice of your wife" because "behind every man is a woman". There was clapping and voicing of agreement.
Rev. Chandler of Shalom Ministries Christian Center said, "Let the faith foundation [now] be the same as you lead the county...leading our county on the Path to Greatness [the title of the Inaugural celebrations]."
Rushern Baker spoke from "Fire Next Time": "...get it right next time" was the main message "not for us but for those yet unborn...."
All clergy were asked to come forward for the blessing of Mr. Baker - it was a laying on of hands. My friend, Rev. Cynthia Snavely (Unitarian Universalist) joined in. The prayer was for a "mighty challenge...with support".
A video of the service is online as a montage here.
Further stories and photos of the Inaugural event are online more than ever in the past. The ball held Sat. night was reported in the Post with another video. The Washington Post has a video of the Inauguration which started with bagpipes. A full listing of reports can be found here with official news only here.
Also check out the latest Prince George's County blogger posts and news here and specific news on the county at Newvine.
And our new video playlists on YouTube for Candidates and Info for 2010 Election in Prince George's, MD | Prince George's County Civic Federation | Prince George's Vital News | Prince George's Education/Youth