Police chaplains provide an integral service to the Philadelphia Police Department and the community at-large. Often, when there’s a police shooting, murder, or community tragedy, local police chaplains are called in to provide spiritual comfort during these most sensitive ordeals.
According to the Philadelphia Police Department’s website, the “Police Chaplain Program provides a ministry presence to the department. The chaplains provide pastoral care to members of the department and their families. At times they also serve members of the general public including schools, parks, and neighborhoods.” Some of the primary services that police chaplains provide include:
Crisis Response - Emergency Responders on a 24 hour / 7 day a week basis (when incidents are reported to the Police Chaplains)
Crisis Intervention - Mediation or intervention for suicide attempts or threats
Death Notifications - Going with an officer to notify next of kin
Special Services - Funerals, memorial services, special department functions, officer graduations, etc.
The Rev. Noreen Pettaway is President, Police Chaplains — 22nd Police District Office.
“I was a police officer for approximately 22 years, I was assigned to the Fighting 92nd, which is closed down now, which was on Lincoln Drive, Fairmount Park Division.”
Now retired, Pettaway was the first female officer assigned to the 92nd District (1980-85); she retired serving in the 22nd District. During her tenure as a policewoman, she served in the Ethics Accountability Division, where she said she, “investigated police corruption. More or less, when we came after you, you had broken the law and you were going to jail.”
She was later assigned to the polygraph unit where she worked until retirement in 2001 After retiring from the police force, Pettaway said she had a calling on her life to pursue ministry. “I wanted to delve more into the Bible,” she said.
She then decided to matriculate to, “Eastern University, [to pursue an undergraduate degree in] biblical studies. It was right after 9/11.”
Her Master’s level study was in Systematic Theology, at Lutheran Theological Seminary.
“It kind of made me realize what one of my purposes was, and that was to be an advocate for social and/or justice issues, based on the theological foundation,” she said.
It was around 2007, “when a rash of police officers were getting killed” that she realized her calling. Pettaway decided to pursue the next chapter of her life, Police Chaplaincy. When Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey combined the 22nd and 23rd District clergy program, Pettaway pounced on the opportunity to join.
“I was appointed by, then Capt.Branville Bard. Our present Captain is Officer Roland Lee. I’ve been blessed to work under great captains, they support the program,” she said.
Police chaplains do not have to be former police officers, many are ordained pastors and/or clergy leaders from around the city representing diverse faiths.
“We are a supportive unit for the police department, to be spiritually here for the police department. We try to be proactive, we do roll calls; we do ride-alongs [with officers]; we’re on-call; we do hospital visits; we do things like that in the community. And every third Friday of the month, weather permitting, we do prayer walks in the community. And that gets the community involved,” she said.
“Formerly, this program [Police Clergy Program] started under the Mayor’s Office, but it kind of morphed into a program that was taken over by the police department,” said Officer Richard Ross, 1st Deputy Police Commissioner. Ross oversees the citywide Police Chaplains program.
“Divisionally, we have six police divisions, and we have a [chaplain] president for each division,” Ross said. Ross holds quarterly meetings that bring the chaplains together to discuss new business, training issues and to allow the sharing of best practices “to improve the program.”
“I like the fact that these men and women respond to our call. And, so, we’ve had a series of misfortunes, some of which have been the loss of life of police officers, and/or serious injuries. And many [chaplains] have stepped up to the plate in a way that I just can’t begin to describe. They’ve been there, not only for the police families, but for the families of the fallen officers. I have had instances where a chaplain was able to stave off conflict as a result of a police discharge. I’ve had chaplains who have spearheaded training programs that are designed to deal with grieving families and grieving police families, as a result of suicide, and have set-up different counseling programs,” he said.
The Philadelphia Police Chaplains Program is a volunteer initiative. To qualify for participation, interested candidates must be local clergy and meet the following qualifications:
A U.S. Citizen who resides in Philadelphia County.
An ordained clergy (chaplain) of a faith-title (i.e., “minister,” “imam,” and “rabbi” are titles, etc.)
And are written endorsement from your church’s or serving authorizing body
And can pass a criminal history background check stating no past or present incidental police arrest or detainment by jailor.
For more information about the Police Chaplains Program, in the 22nd District, contact Officer Shannon Moore, Community Relations Division, at (215) 686-3220. Or, you can contact the closest Philadelphia Police District office nearest you for chaplaincy service in your neighborhood.
“40 Days of Delight” is a new book written by the Rev. Carmen C. Marshall, chief of staff at Bright Hope Baptist Church, 12th St. and Cecil B. Moore Ave.
“40 Days of Delight’ is a 40 day instructional journal, based on Biblical principles, for fasting, prayer and spiritual reflection. “40 Days of Delight” is a structured daily guide that features Biblical scriptures, space to record prayers and personal reflections, and helpful instructions to successfully lead a person on a 40 day journey.
“[‘40 Days of Delight’] came out of a class that I was teaching at Bright Hope Baptist Church. I was doing the Bible study for the Sankofa Ministry, which is the adult ministry here at Bright Hope, and they asked me to teach them about fasting,” said Marshall, a licensed and ordained minister, teacher, trainer and in-demand speaker. “And after extensive prayer, the Lord gave me a calendar that would lead people through forty days of fasting, prayer and reflection. And that’s what [my book] “40 Days of Delight” is really all about. It’s a spiritual fast, it’s forty days with the Holy Spirit.”
Most people think of abstaining from food when fasting, but Marshall takes a slight different direction in her book, “The focus isn’t on food, although it is a fast, it’s a partial fast versus a full abstinence (of food).”
In her book, “we ask people to abstain from 1 to 2 meals a day.”
And for the meals that are to be eaten, Marshall suggests making those meals very simple and light, “No junk foods, no fried foods, none of that junk. Vegetables, juices, and water (are permissible).”
In the Christian community, many people are familiar with a once hugely popular Daniel Fast. According to Daniel Fast.com, “The Daniel Fast is a biblically based partial fast. It is a method of fasting that men, women and young people all over the world are using as they enter into the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting.”
Marshall’s “40 Days of Delight” differs in that the Daniel Fast is for 20 days, but both advocate eating fruits, vegetables, and drinking water as a beverage. Other distinguishing element of Marshall’s “40 Days of Delight,” are “No breads, no meats, no sweets.” Marshall said, “The focus is not on what you give up, but what you gain. And so, the time that you spend in prayer and reflection, there’s a time for reading the Word, a time for reflection, there’s a mandatory period of silence that begins with ten minutes a day. By the time you get to forty days, you will be spending two hours of mandatory silence – it’s a time that you can build up your prayer life with the Lord.” The biggest take away that Marshall would like readers of her book to gain is, “That they conform to the image of Christ, that’s the bottom line.”
Marshall was born in Tallahassee, Fla., but grew up in Louisiana. Marshall was licensed to preach the gospel in 1996, and was ordained in 2001 at Faith Community Baptist Church, in Silver Spring, Md. Her other ministry servant leadership roles have included: assistant pastor, associate minister, Bible teacher, and workshop facilitator and she has led women’s ministry and leadership training for church leaders. Marshall attended the University of Massachusetts at Boston and earned her Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Texas Southern University in Houston. To purchase “40 Days of Delight,” go online at www.40daysofdelight.blogspot.com.
The Urban Theological Institute of The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, presents its 31st annual Preaching with Power: A Forum on Black Preaching and Theology, in Philadelphia. The forum will run from March 10-14. The public is invited to attend the five powerful sermons and one lecture presented by six distinguished African American preachers and theologians. The worship offering proceeds will go to The Rev. Dr. Joseph Q. Jackson Endowed Scholarship Fund, which benefits UTI students. “Preaching with Power is an annual event at Lutheran Theological Seminary, actually, we’re in our 31st year of hosting this event. It is sponsored by the Urban Theological Institute, better known at the UTI,” said the Rev. Quintin L. Robertson, director of the Urban Theological Institute and Black Church Studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary. Robertson also serves as the associate minister at Sanctuary Church of God in Christ. A gospel concert, “Celebration of Music in the African American Church” will be held on March 10 at 3:30pm, at Janes Memorial United Methodist Church, 47 E. Haines St. “This is the first year where we have taken the concert off campus, which usually was a day event, and we’re kicking off with the concert on Sunday evening.” said Robertson, “The first preaching will take place on Monday, March 11 at the Grace Baptist Church of Germantown [25 West Johnson St.]. The Rev. Dr. Ralph West, from Houston, Texas, a very prominent preacher, in the African American tradition, who has spoken several times at the Hampton Ministers Conference, will be with us.” “We will come on campus Tuesday, during the day, for our annual lecture. This year Dr. Yolanda Pierce from Princeton Theological Seminary is speaking.” The Pierce lecture will be held March 12 at 11:15 a.m. at The Lutheran Theological Seminary, in Benbow Hall/The Brossman Center, 7301 Germantown Ave. At 7 p.m., Bishop Nathan Baxter, the bishop of the Episcopalian Church for Central Pennsylvania, will speak at Reformation Lutheran Church, 1215 East Vernon Road. Many may remember him as the director of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. during the Clinton administration. On March 13 at 11:15 a.m. the Rev. Alyn E. Waller, senior pastor of Enon Tabernacle Church, will be the guest preacher during the campus chapel service at The Lutheran Theological Seminary, Schaeffer-Ashmead Chapel. At 6:30 p.m., Bishop Martin Luther Johnson, from New Jersey, will speak at Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ, 6401 Ogontz Ave. On March 14, 2013, 7 p.m., Bishop Gregory G.M. Ingram is scheduled to preach at Mt. Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church, 428 North 41st St.
“The whole idea is really to present to the Philadelphia community that Lutheran seminary embraces the African American tradition, recognizing that some of the best pulpiteers in the Christian church and the USA are African Americans; that there’s a uniqueness to Black preaching and that uniqueness is shared with persons,” said Robertson. Robertson said the scheduled preaching is presented from a “scholarly point” and that the preachers usually speak to a small group of students and alumni during a questions-and-answers session after their respective presentations. “[Guest preachers] are asked by the students and alumni, how do they prepare their sermons, what are the steps they do in preparing their message? So, it becomes both a spiritual event, but also an educational event as well,” said Robertson.
“There’s one other thing that happens, funds are raised at these services. Those proceeds help our students in the Black Church concentration, all funds that are raised go to a scholarship fund that help students that study here at Lutheran Theological Seminary.” On March 21, there will be a Prospective Student Day for those interested in certificate programs, or undergraduate and graduate school enrollment. This open house student recruiting event is scheduled for Lutheran Theological Seminary/The Brossman Center, 7301 Germantown Ave. For more details and information about any of the scheduled events, contact Robertson at (215) 248-4616, or visit the school website: www.ltsp.edu.
Vicky Lambert, formally of West Philadelphia, is making her imprint on the world — literally. A repertoire dancer, Hollywood and stage actress, professional runway and print fashion model, and Christian disciple, Lambert is living life abundantly.
The daughter of the Rev. Emanuel Lambert and Martina Lambert, she is a former member of Sharon Baptist Church. Her local education ties included Overbrook Elementary School, Masterman Junior High School, Performing Arts High School, and Overbrook High School. She currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif.
Lambert’s awards and acclaim are numerous, according to IMDb (Internet Movie Database), she is the first African American to be crowned the Princess Grace of Monaco Award. She was a principal dancer with the world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Dance Magazine cited her as a credible heir to Judith Jamison (Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre). She toured with Grammy Award-winning artist Barry Manilow as a dancer in his hugely successful Copacabana U.S. concert tour and her extraordinary dancing skills landed her roles in feature films such as Chicago (starring Richard Gere and Queen Latifah) and Disney’s Enchanted. As a dancer, Vicky has traveled the world performing with various dance companies and entertaining thousands.
“I started dancing at the ripe age of 4-years-old, but my mother says 3. I started dancing at Philadelphia Dance Company [Philadanco],” she said.
During this early period, Lambert said someone noticed her talents and urged her mother to put her in a more highly competitive dance environment.
“And so [my mother] took me over to the Pennsylvania Ballet, and I auditioned on scholarship and received a full scholarship to dance there. And so, I guess you would say, when I turned 10-years-old, is when I really started to get some amazing training.” she said.
Lambert credits one of her early female instructors for mentoring her and training her in classic ballet. She was groomed in a classical Russian dance technique.
“Prima ballerinas, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and all the high echelon ballet dancers study under this really special technique,” Lambert said.
When Lambert matriculated to Villanova University, she was faced with a critical life decision: finish college or pursue a professional dance career that was quickly on the rise.
“That’s where there was a fork in the road,” she said. “My mother’s contention was, ‘Go to college so you have a back-up plan. I was doing that to appease her, but at the same time, it was kind of derailing me, because I was trying to do both.”
Lambert left Villanova and transferred to North Carolina School of the Arts, a performing arts college that she felt could nurture and heighten her dance skills.
“And while I was there, I saw a video of an amazing dance company that I had never laid my eyes on before, because I had been in the classical realm,” she said. “I saw Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre for the first time, and I just remember thinking, ‘They do everything. I want to do that!’
She traveled back and forth between New York and North Carolina to audition. She was selected to join Alvin Ailey’s junior dance company. After two years of performing, she was invited into (Alvin Ailey’s) main professional dance company.
She moved to New York and parlayed her dance career into acting and modeling. As a fashion model, Lambert has appeared in major advertising campaigns for L’Oreal, American Express, Power Bar, Buick, Levis, and in top fashion magazines Vogue and GQ.
The dance, acting and modeling industries are known to have a dark underbelly of illegal drug use, rampant sexual promiscuity and other vices. Lambert has stood on her Christian faith and values to preserve her from such decadence. She said she had to be very “in tune and very sensitive to what’s going on around and what’s going on inside.”
“Many times,” Lambert said, “I’ve asked God where do I fit? How do I fit in this industry that seems to be so oppose to who you are? How do I fit in? That’s still a constant question.”
In Hollywood or on Broadway, “You may not always play a Christian. You may not always play the good girl. You may not always play the person that believes [in Christ] like you do, but you constantly have to ask yourself, what is the message? At the end of the day, what is the script, or what is this ad, or what is this dance trying to say? What is the message that this [project] is trying to say to the world? And if I can reconcile myself with the overall message, I can kind of give myself a barometer or a system of how I need to be involved or not be involved with it.”
She currently fellowships at Saddleback Church, under the leadership of the Rev. Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor. Warren is the author of the hugely popular book: ‘A Purpose Driven Life,’ a New York bestseller that has sold millions worldwide.
Warren’s attention to details impresses Lambert, whose success as an actress-model-dancer is all about being detailed and disciplined.
“He’s so meticulous with details…details say, ‘I care.’ [At Saddleback Church] there’s just something for everyone,” she said.
According Lambert, Saddleback’s worship experience and music are varied, diverse and appealing to reach a wide range of people.
“[Warren] has so many options [of ministry] that you can find yourself in,” she said. “There’s no way you couldn’t find your resonation.”
Lambert admits it takes personal courage to take a stand on spiritual and moral issues while working in secular-mainstream industries.
“To have that [Biblical] Daniel kind of faith, and say there are just certain things that I will not do. And to stand alone at times, and to maybe make people upset at times, to say ‘No, sorry, I can’t say that line.’ Or, to say to my agent, ‘I’m sorry, I can’t go out to that audition. I’m not comfortable with that.’ And so, there’s definitely those moments when you have to stand alone, when you have to leave to gain yourself. To gain who you are and who you’ve been called to be. God has His people everywhere,” she said.”
According to its playwright, Leroy A. “Lee” Harris, “When the Child Cries,” will become the first gospel musical presented in any casino with runs March 1-2 at Resorts Casino Hotel’s Superstar Theater, in Atlantic City, N.J. The musical is a charity benefit with all proceeds going to the American Red Cross Superstorm Sandy Relief Fund. Resorts Casino Hotel is donating the use of its theater venue.
This gospel musical originated from an award-winning poem on family and social issues facing young mothers that transcend ethnicities. It’s a show about salvation and is filled with amazing gospel singers and songs. The performances include real pastors as cast members who do a real invitation to salvation in the final act.
Moved by the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Harris said, “I saw mothers crying, families of four or more still living in single motel rooms and heard reports of depleting funds to help them.”
Harris decided to use his popular and poignant gospel musical as a charitable resource to raise funds and awareness for children and families still struggling to recover from Sandy’s massive destruction. New Jersey was one of the hardest hit states by the storm. Local clergy from Philadelphia and New Jersey are in support of this gospel fundraiser.
“When the Child Cries is a very enlightening play. It’s written and directed by a minority brother by the name of Lee Harris,” said Rev. Sheila Harper, Associate Minister-Sharon Baptist Church. “It’s a power 5-act play, like many families in today’s society, the family depicted in the play present a family of limited resources. Which addresses low or no income, poor, no housing, little to no education, no food, no medical-no dental insurance, you know, things of that nature,”
“As the story unfolds, a tragedy kind of brings home the message that hardships can be too hard to bare,” Harper said.
Harper has a pivotal role in the musical, there’s a segment in this musical where she will officiate an actual call to Christian discipleship/salvation for audience members.
Other local clergy involved and supportive of this gospel musical fundraiser include Elder Dianne Johnson who appears as a featured singer and Bishop George Gibson who appears as an attending pastor; both are from Christian Love Worship Cathedral, 813 W Lehigh Ave. Bishop Shawn Bartley, pastor at True United Apostolic, 6201 Old York Road, also appears as an attending pastor.
“When the Child Cries” has evolved over the years, playing at various venue locations nationally. The musical gained national notoriety when during 2011 and 2012, four- time Grammy award winner Karen Clark Sheard joined the cast as a featured singer.
“Karen Clark Sheard’s contribution was God-sent and caused many in the gospel industry to recognize the electrifying gospel musical “When the Child Cries” as a serious gospel musical. A production unlike any other with a unique theme that is about salvation and incorporates audience members getting saved during the final act of the production,” said Harris.
In September 2012, gospel superstar Earnest Pugh added to the musical’s national acclaim and popularity by joining the cast and performing his two chart topping gospel hits “Rain on Us” and “I Need Your Glory.”
Harris said that major secular musical artists had lend their notoriety to fundraising efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy by performing in Atlantic City casinos, he felt it important that the Christian community should be just as benevolent and public about offering its support, too.
Harris met with Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford.
“I met with [Mayor Langford] for an hour and a half,” Harris said.
After the meeting, Harris said that Langford was excited and supportive of his fundraising idea and initiated a meeting between Harris and senior executives at Resorts Casino Hotel. The casino execs approved to have the fundraising event at their venue.
“I am bringing the full play to Atlantic City to also show that the [New Jersey] destination is okay. The Boardwalk and the city have recovered from Superstorm Sandy and we will bring visitors in to see for themselves. It’s an outstanding opportunity to raise funds for those in the region that are still recuperating and need the additional funding to get back on their feet. Many people surrounding the casinos are still living in horrible conditions. It is our duty to try to help them,” said Harris.
“All proceeds are going to go to the American Red Cross, and as far as the cast [is concerned], I’m paying for that myself,” said Harris, a retired U.S. Marine Aviation veteran and award winning poet.
The opening narration of the play is from Harris' original award winning poem “When a Girl Cries.”
Harris transferred from Norfolk State to Glassboro State College, earning his undergraduate degree in sociology. He served in the U.S. Navy and later served as an aviation officer in the Marines.
After serving in the military, he attended graduate school at the University of Michigan in the Department of Speech Communication, and the University of Iowa in the Department of Speech Communication and Dramatic Arts, and Rutgers University.
In addition to being a playwright, Harris is also a boxing trainer in Las Vagas, and he’s also a performer in his musical, portraying a lighthearted character named Uncle Hucklebuck.
"Christian influence is weaning in the world. We have become very comfortable preaching to ‘caught and taught’ fish while waiting for the lost to wander into our nets [the local church]. Jesus commanded that His disciples: ‘Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’ [Matthew 28:19],” said Harper.
She said, “while the play will not be held in the face of casino gamblers, but rather in the Superstar Theater located within the casino, it is my hope that we will capture that crowd.”
Tickets are priced at $35 for general admission and $45 for preferred seating, and are available for purchase through Ticketmaster at http://www.ticketmaster.com/. Resorts Casino Hotel is located at 1133 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J. For more information about Harris and his gospel musical, go to: http://www.whenthechildcries.org/, or call: 856-562-0964.