Religions Joining Hands and Breaking Bread for the Community

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On Saturday, nearly 2,000 religious and community leaders gathered in Inglewood for one of the largest interfaith prayer breakfasts in the nation to reaffirm their commitment to building a united community. Spearheaded by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Bishop Edward Turner, chair of the Sheriff’s Executive Clergy Advisory Council, the 6th Annual Multi-Faith Prayer Breakfast brought together a wide range of religious groups from Christian to Muslim to Buddhist to Scientologist. It was held at Los Angeles Southwest College and was emceed by member of the Lakers 2000 NBA championship team John Salley, now with 100.3 “The Beat”.

On Saturday, nearly 2,000 religious and community leaders gathered in Inglewood for one of the largest interfaith prayer breakfasts in the nation to reaffirm their commitment to building a united community. Spearheaded by Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca and Bishop Edward Turner, chair of the Sheriff’s Executive Clergy Advisory Council, the 6th Annual Multi-Faith Prayer Breakfast brought together a wide range of religious groups from Christian to Muslim to Buddhist to Scientologist. It was held at Los Angeles Southwest College and was emceed by member of the Lakers 2000 NBA championship team John Salley, now with 100.3 “The Beat.”

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd, praised the purposes of the Breakfast. He enthused, “What a beautiful day in Los Angeles, to see people of many faiths, people coming from every community; black, brown, yellow and red; all of us.”

The array of officials and dignitaries and religious leaders attending, included State Assemblyman Mark Ridley Thomas; State Controller Steve Westly; former Governor and now Mayor of Oakland Jerry Brown; movie and TV star Jenna Elfman; Tony Mohammad, head of the Nation of Islam for Southern California; H.H. Brookins, former head of the African Methodist Episcopal Church; Los Angeles Councilwomen Jan Perry and Janice Hahn; Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braitwaite Burke and Lynwood Councilman Alfreddie Johnson.

Reverend Heber C. Jentzsch, President of the Church of Scientology International and a member of Sheriff Baca’s Executive Advisory Clergy Council, gave the invocation by reciting the Scientology Prayer for Total Freedom. Promoting the “united” theme, he also showed the award-winning human rights music video “United,” produced by Los Angeles-based Youth for Human Rights International.

Actress Jenna Elfman, from the hit TV comedy “Dharma and Greg”, soon to be seen in “Courting Alex”, spoke about the need for people of all faiths to be active in healing in the community. She told of her personal experience as a Scientologist in helping prisoners successfully reintegrate into society. She explained how the program she works with, Criminon, which is based on the works of L. Ron Hubbard, assists thousands of prisoners regain their self-respect and return to society as valuable citizens. She related her experience with her first individual who was serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole in a Northern California prison. As he progressed through the Criminon program with Jenna’s help, he found himself starting to create a new life for himself outside of prison, something he had never thought of before. He had resigned himself to being a criminal for life. He is now training to be a paralegal with straight As.

The Multi-Faith Prayer Breakfast was the opening for Community Day festivities in South Los Angeles, which was held at the Department of Public Social Services Building, two blocks away. Community Day, which is in its 11th year, was originally started to share with residents of South Los Angeles the necessities of life -- clothing and food. The Day has expanded and now provides numerous resources for residents in the areas of education, healthcare, community services and financial services.

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Edith Reuveni

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