NYC Pastors Bring School Worship Fight to Legislator’s Home

NYC Pastors Bring School Worship Fight to Legislator’s Home

Taking Worship Ban fight to NY Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver's Home

A small group of protesters took their school worship ban fight to the home of New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver.

Two New York City pastors took their ongoing protest of the city’s ban on worship in public schools to the home of New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on the eve of the Jewish Sabbath last night. They charged that the Jewish lawmaker has disrespected their “Sabbath” by failing to bring a bill to the House floor that would permanently restore public school access to affected houses of worship. A similar bill has already passed the New York Senate and supporters say there are enough votes in the House for Bill #A8800 to pass in the House. More than 60 churches won a temporary reprieve in February when U.S. Chief District Judge Loretta A. Preska issued an injunction against the city’s Board of Education, but a city attorney has said the city will appeal if Preska rules permanently in their favor.

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The Rev. Rick Del Rio, senior pastor of Abounding Grace Ministries, organized the Sabbath eve demonstration and lives four blocks from Silver. He has ministered in their Lower East Side neighborhood for two decades.

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Members of Rev. Del Rio’s church spoke to UrbanFaith about the school worship ban, saying it represents a threat to their religious freedom. They were joined by the Rev. Dimas Salaberrios, pastor of Infinity Church in the Bronx. Salaberrios said the worship ban inordinately affects economically disadvantaged communities and accused Silver of lying and double-dealing in regard to the bill.

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A Security guard at Silver’s building barred UrbanFaith from ringing his buzzer for a response to the demonstration, saying Silver was not at home. Del Rio said the Speaker knew about the protest in advance. He promised to return next week with a larger group if Silver fails to act. The current legislative session ends June 21.

*Note: For more of our exclusive reporting on this story, see the links below. For more video and photos from the protest, go to Explorations Media’s Flickr and YouTube channels.
UrbanFaith Wins Top Media Award

UrbanFaith Wins Top Media Award

UrbanFaith.com earned honors in three categories at the 2012 Evangelical Press Association Convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The convention was hosted at the Focus on the Family campus, May 9-11.

UF won fourth place in the General Article (medium length) category in the Higher Goals Contest for the submission “Is LeBron the NBA’s Samson?” by Jelani Greenidge. We also won a fourth-place award in the Devotional category for the article “Forgiving Kim Jong-Il” by Helen Lee.

Finally, UrbanFaith earned the top honor in the Awards of Excellence for General Digital Media. This is the EPA’s highest award for general websites. Here’s what the judge had to say about us: “This site simply stands out. Its story selection, writing, and focus on being current gives it the edge over all the other entries.”

The Evangelical Press Association is a professional organization of some 300 Christian magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and content-rich websites in North America. The annual convention in May brings together evangelical journalists, writers, and other media-related professionals for a time of training, networking and encouragement. Each year at the convention awards are given out in various categories.

UrbanFaith is grateful to the EPA for these honors, and we look forward to faithfully pursuing another year of journalistic excellence.