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PR- 500-05
December 30, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted religious leaders from the City's five boroughs who represent a variety of faiths including Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Baptist, Hinduism and Buddhism at the 5th Annual Interfaith Breakfast. The reception was held at The New York Public Library and the Mayor was joined by former Mayor David N. Dinkins and the New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus.

"As we all gather here today from different religions and different parts of the world, we recognize that we share so much in common as people of faith and as New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "I am proud to join the City's religious leaders to reaffirm our commitment to each other and honor our diversity of faith and beliefs. The New Year will bring new challenges and I look forward to tackling them by working together with the guidance and wisdom of our City's spiritual community."

Religious leaders participating in the breakfast include:

Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake is a Former U.S. Congressman and is currently the senior pastor of the more than 20,000-member Greater Allen A. M. E. Cathedral of New York in Jamaica, Queens. He is also the President of Wilberforce University in Ohio. Flake served eleven years in the U.S. Congress, and was a member of the Banking and Finance, and Small Business Committees. Dr. Flake earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree (D.Min.) from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH and holds a B.A. from Wilberforce University with additional studies at Payne Theological Seminary and Northeastern University School of Business.

Rabbi Diana S. Monheit serves as the Coordinator of the New York Board of Rabbis' Sh'ma Kolenu Project, a program focused on uniting clergy against domestic violence through outreach to all faith communities, community awareness programs and clergy training. In addition, she serves as one a member of the Spiritual Care team at the NYC Family Justice Center located in Brooklyn. She earned her BA in Political Science from Rutgers College in 1996, earned her Masters' Degree and received her Rabbinic Ordination in 2001 from the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in New York City. Prior to her current position, Rabbi Monheit served congregations in both Short Hills, NJ and Atlanta, GA. Throughout her rabbinate, Rabbi Monheit has been involved with city, state, and national agencies and organizations that work towards eradicating domestic abuse from our communities.

Reverend Kenjitsu Nakagaki has been a Buddhist priest for the last 25 years (ordained in Kyoto, Japan in 1980), and is currently the head minister of the New York Buddhist Church (Jodoshinshu Buddhist temple). Rev. Nakagaki is the former president of the Buddhist Council of New York which consists of various traditions of Buddhism from different countries. She is also a religious life advisor (University Campus Ministry of Buddhism) at Columbia University and an adviser of the American Buddhist Study Center.

Rev. Marek Suchocki is the current Pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church on Staten Island. Born in Chelm, Poland, Reverend Suchoki studied at the Archdiocesan Seminary in Lublin, Poland, and served as Parochial Vicar at various parishes in Poland until 1994 when he became a permanent resident of the United States.

Pastor Michel White-Haynes is the founder of the Faith Temple Church of the Living God in the Bronx. Pastor White-Haynes is a renowned gospel vocalist, musician and choral directress. She currently operates several youth related programs. These programs augment the school curriculum as well as help to strengthen the basic educational and social skills and prevent the ever-increasing dropout rate prevalent amongst minorities. Pastor White-Haynes is a graduate of Fordham University with a B. A. in Psychology. She holds a Bachelor of Theology and Religious Education from the American Bible College and is an advanced graduate of the Manhattan Bible Institute in New York City.

Imam Erhan Yildirim is the current Imam at the United American Muslim Mosque Association. Imam Yildirim is also a NYPD clergy liaison.

Guests were entertained by the New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus which performed during the reception. The chorus was established to provide an opportunity for youth to participate in year-round performing arts activity. Chorus members study music history, theory, vocal technique, and movement, and learn and perform a repertoire that includes Classical, Gospel, Pop, and Latin music.

"Our diversity is our greatest gift but only if we embrace it, share it and celebrate it," said Mayor Bloomberg to the assembled leaders.


Edward Skyler / Silvia Alvarez   (212) 788-2958

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