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Faith Community Holds Prayer Vigil in Support of Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas

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Lisa Collins

Over 400 pastors, community leaders and residents turned out for a Citywide Prayer Service for Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas in the wake of his 20-count federal indictment by a grand jury last week.

The two-hour long service—held at Southern Missionary Baptist Church—featured music, prayer, scripture readings and was punctuated by the heartfelt exhortations of those like Apostle Beverly “Bam” Crawford, Pastor J. Edgar Boyd, Baptist Ministers Conference president, K.W. Tulloss and Bishop Charles Blake in support of the Councilman and his family, who were not in attendance.

“We come together tonight to say Lord, we need some mercy and some help,” said Bishop Blake, who dubbed the Councilman’s dilemma as a very significant crisis that has confronted our community.  

Blake spoke of being able to call on Ridley-Thomas countless times over the last 30 years to assist with the challenges of the church and surrounding community. 

“He was there to show love and respect and to counsel and to guide, and after he came to me over these thousand times over the last 30 or 40 years, I would not dare allow this event to pass without me being here,” Blake said. 

“What does my presence mean at this meeting here tonight? It means I love Mark Ridley-Thomas,” he continued. “After doing so much for our city over so many years, there is no way we should allow him to have a challenge like this and not have the [faith] family to gather together…” 

The event was organized by Pastor Xavier Thompson with the assistance of Bishop Noel Jones in just 72 hours.

“This is not a matter of right or wrong, guilty or innocent,” stated Thompson, who serves as pastor of the Southern Missionary Baptist Church. “This is our own and we don’t abandon our family. The least we can do is come together and pray for our beloved public servant. I am aware of the 20-count federal indictment, but I’m going on record to say that is not the man I know.  The man I know is one of character. The man I know is integral who has been above board in all of his doings. 

“An indictment is not a conviction,” Thompson added. “We’re innocent until proven guilty. So, I’m motivated by love to just rally the community and clergy and this is a unified effort— an effort of solidarity.”

Co-hosts for the event included Pastors Joseph Carlos Robinson and Michael J.T. Fisher.

“We’re here tonight—clergy from all over Los Angeles—to show support to Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas,” Fisher reported. “We’re neither judge nor jury but we are supposed to be intercessors especially for the gatekeepers of our community and he definitely is one.”

Robinson agreed.

“Mark Ridley-Thomas is a legendary figure in Los Angeles,” Robinson observed. “I’m here to honor his service to our community. I’m here because he is a brother beloved. I’m here because he needs strength for this journey and I’m here because of all the years and sacrifices that he has made for us, it is time for us to return the favor.”

Pastor K.W. Tulloss noted that this was just the first in a series of actions faith leaders were considering in an ongoing effort to support Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas.

“Mark has been a part of our faith community for many years from his days with SCLC through his years in elected service and as he has stood with us, we will be steadfast in our support for him both in word and in deed.”


| lafocus | | 2 Comments

Comments (2)

  • Important event on the systematic deconstruction of a highly esteemed legislator and a person of deep religious faith. The faith community is a counterbalance to the “off the rails” political response to the allegations of impropriety.

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