Bishop Mark Beckwith of Newark collaborated with a rabbi and an imam on a column in today's Newark Star-Ledger. They represent the executive team of the Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace, which, for three years has worked to reduce violence and bring peace to the streets of Newark:
Messages matter. They bombard us all the time — from TV, magazines and billboards. They shape minds in more ways than we can imagine. Messages can reframe the way we think, how we believe and the way we live. ....
The Newark Interfaith Coalition for Hope and Peace represents three major faith traditions — Christian, Jewish and Muslim. As religious leaders, we are in the message business. We want to create messages for the city of Newark — messages of hope and peace, resonant of our different faith traditions. Messages that we can all embrace, that are easily remembered:
Support and protect our children.
Our community, our responsibility.
In the next month you will be seeing these messages on lawn signs and T-shirts. With some additional funding, these life-saving messages will be on billboards across the city. Kids in the Newark schools will be engaged in a poster and essay contest to promote these two messages.
We have an opportunity to create a community-wide message that holds up our children as our most precious assets — and that invites a commitment from the rest of us to offer our own unique gifts to the civic fabric and spiritual soul of the city.