Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller addresses faith leaders after painful week — City of Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE – Today Mayor Tim Keller hosted the annual gathering of faith leaders from across the city. This morning’s breakfast marked the return of in-person tradition after a two-year gap due to the pandemic. Speakers from the city and the faith community prayed for healing for Albuquerque’s Muslim community, grieving after the deaths of four men, and urged collaboration in the work to end homelessness in Albuquerque .
“We clearly saw last week what we have always known in Albuquerque. Our trust and faith in each other, in our city and in our community, is what helps us overcome our challenges. It is a faith that cannot be legislated or written into an ordinance, it is only built through the sharing of real work”, said Mayor Tim Keller. “At the City, we are finding new ways to assume our responsibilities and act to meet our daily challenges, but I have always said that we cannot do it alone. I am so grateful for all that your congregations are already doing for the most vulnerable, and now it is time to move forward again on a homelessness crisis that has become much more urgent. I want us to move forward together without fear, “for God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and discipline”. Timothy 1:7.”
“We need to start taking action as we speak. We say the most vulnerable among us are our neighbours, now we must follow this march. We can’t just say it. Believe it,” said Pastor Bruce Jefferson of Mount Olive Baptist Church. “I challenge every religious leader here today to be like the good Samaritan, who welcomed his neighbor in need when others simply passed by. That is our problem today. As the Bible says , ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.’ The challenge of homelessness is all around us, but today there are too few who are truly committed to doing the work.This is the group to step up and change that.
Faith and City leaders joined Mayor Keller in addressing the group to outline concrete ways for the faith community to focus its efforts. This includes providing physical spaces like day shelters, coordinating their volunteer work with service providers, or using their property to house people.
The Mayor, Chief Medina and religious leaders held a space to acknowledge how the events of the past week have affected the families of missing persons and the city as a whole. The City reiterated its commitment to protecting faith-based institutions so that everyone feels safe to pray and worship.
“There is nothing but gratitude from our community,” said Tahir Gauba, director of public relations for the Islamic Center of New Mexico. “It has been an emotional rollercoaster and we appreciate all the support we have received from the interfaith community. I want to thank Mayor Keller and Chief Medina for their top-down leadership. Together, we have made it clear that this violence does not represent our city. Thank you for standing with the Muslim community to reject and speak out against violence, and to love and care for those who are suffering now.
The city’s ongoing dialogue and collaboration with the faith community is essential to building a strong, supportive, and inclusive Albuquerque.
The full video of the interfaith event is available here.