CAMDEN — On Oct. 12, 100 clergy and religious leaders from Camden Churches Organized for People met with gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie at Sword of the Sprit Christian Center in the Gateway section of Camden.
Being a non-partisan organization, CCOP does not endorse or support any candidates for office, and so when the opportunity to meet with another gubernatorial candidate presented itself weeks ago, CCOP leaders took the opportunity to publicly lift-up the community’s needs again.
The meeting opened with prayer from Mary Hicks, parishioner of St. Bartholomew church and CCOP leader. Msgr. Robert McDermott, pastor of St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral in East Camden, shared with Christie an extended credential of CCOP reading the mission and vision statement created over two decades ago, and listing the many citywide and local victories CCOP’s organizing has achieved.
Leading up to Candidate Christie’s address, three CCOP leaders, Gordon Johnson from Camden Bible Tabernacle, Rosa Ramirez from St. Joseph’s Pro-Cathedral, and Marian Jones from St. Bartholomew’s shared the same core messages previously delivered both to Gov. Corzine and the four Mayoral Candidates. They ended by asking Candidate Christie the following question: “If I were in the shoes of an average Camden Resident and if my family lived and worshiped here in the city, what kind of relationship would I want with my public officials, with regards to public safety, education, basic city services, and public accountability?”
Christie spoke on the topics of public safety, education, youth resources, economic development, and the state control of Camden. He shared about his work experiences as an Attorney and what it was like both growing up in Newark and what it was like working in Camden. He echoed the desire to work with the community and his commitment to bring hope back to the city of Camden.
Father Gerard Marable, pastor of St. Bartholomew’s church, closed the meeting in prayer.
Between now and Nov. 3 both the CCOP citywide federation and their local organizing committees will be conducting a non-partisan get out the vote campaign, with a prayer rally that will take place on Friday, Oct. 30.