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Schenectady clergy offer spiritual guidance with curbside service; First responders prayed for

Schenectady clergy offer spiritual guidance with curbside service; First responders prayed for

'Prayer caravan' blesses first responders
Schenectady clergy offer spiritual guidance with curbside service; First responders prayed for
Vehicles line up as they visit Mohawk Ambulance on Sunday.
Photographer: marc schultz/staff photographer

SCHENECTADY — With hazard lights blinking and inspirational quotes pasted to their windows, the convoy made its way down Hulett Street before stopping at Mohawk Ambulance.

Marva Issacs and Pastor Felicia Collins emerged. 

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,” Issacs told first responders through the garage bay. 

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Collins prayed and the convoy took off. 

With the state bracing for a grueling week as the death toll continues to soar from the coronavirus pandemic, the group felt it was important to offer a dose of spiritual guidance with curbside service.

“We’re walking into danger,” Collins said. “We want them to know they’re being recognized.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo hailed first responders on Sunday, but acknowledged he didn't know how many have tested positive for the virus. 

Local agencies are not immune to the looming shortages of medical supplies, and numerous efforts are underway to steer personal protective equipment to area hospitals and law enforcement agencies. 

Paramedics nodded appreciatively on State Street as a giant clump of teenage bicyclists popped wheelies and onlookers gawked as they picked up orders from I Love NY Pizza and Fried Chicken.

The process repeated itself as the dozen-or-so vehicles visited first responders as part of a “prayer caravan” organized by area churches and city Councilwoman Marion Porterfield.

As cars idled, two people emerged at each location, offering both scripture and a prayer — keeping the requisite six-foot distance, of course.  

“We’re practicing social distancing, but our hearts are there with you,” Porterfield told a group of officers outside of the county jail on Veeder Avenue.

Porterfield said the trying times require spiritual guidance. 

“We need some intervention, absolutely,” Porterfield said.

Collins has seen an uptick of frightened people leaning into their faith, citing fear and uncertainty.

“Some folks are concerned about the end times.” she said.

Ensuring the spiritual top-offs were being not distributed to empty stomachs, the Hamilton Hill Neighborhood Association purchased food from local small businesses to be delivered at several of the stops. 

Clergy also delivered blessings to the fire department and police station, where they were met by Sgt. Bradley Carlton.

“Do not be afraid, for the word of the Lord is with you,” Pastor Geewan Robert of Faith Deliverance Tabernacle told him. 

And on the steps of City Hall, Pastor Nicolle Harris of Duryee AME Zion Church prayed over Porterfield.

“Let the things that go on in this building benefit all people — not just the few,” Harris said.

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