ORANGE, NJ — Irvington East Ward Block Association Vice President Glenn Gamble was in attendance at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Orange on Sunday, July 9, when New Jersey Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy took time out of his busy campaign to stop by, just in time to participate with the Rev. Bill Rutherford Jr. and the congregation in its Youth Sunday Youth Worship Service.
Gamble, an Irvington resident and Orange school teacher, is a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Orange and said he really wanted to hear what Murphy had to say on a variety of issues near and dear to him.
Gamble has organized multiple candidates forums in Irvington for every elected public office, from the Board of Education to the mayor and Municipal Council members through the years, with the East Ward Block Association and the group’s president, Rosie Griggs, and he acknowledged that is an important service for the community.
But Gamble said the church’s event on Sunday was about more than politics.
“As an educator, it was heartwarming to see how the Christian Education Ministry of Ebenezer recognized the educational achievements of all youth in the church no matter the age or grade,” said Gamble on Monday, July 10. “A church that’s growing has an active youth ministry. Ebenezer has seen exponential growth in the youth ministry over the past two years I’ve been a member. Pastor Rutherford is doing an awesome job.”
Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren was also there, along with his brother, police Director Todd Orange Mayor Dwayne Warren was also there, along with his brother, police Director Todd Warren, his cousin, Department of Public Works Supervisor Raymond Wingfield, and West Ward District Leader William Hathaway.
“I just worshipped at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Orange with Pastor Rutherford, who’s one of my close friends in the state,” said Murphy on Sunday, July 9. “I was really moved. This church is a role model in so many respects, not just for what is done on the spiritual side inside the sanctuary, but what it does in the community. It has a huge weight that impacts thousands of lives, whether it’s meals or service to seniors or children. It sets the standard in so many respects and I’m honored to be here today.”
While Murphy is in the midst of his first run for elected office, he said politics didn’t bring him to Ebenezer Baptist Church. He did, however, have a something to say about the recent state government shutdown during the Independence Day weekend due to a budget battle between the governor and the state Assembly, which is primarily composed of Democrats.
“It’s a failure of leadership by the governor,” Murphy said. “But most importantly, I’m here to worship today.”
Glenn Gamble, an Irvington resident and Orange school teacher who is also vice president of the Irvington East Ward Block Association and a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church, said he really wanted to hear what Murphy had to say on a variety of issues near and dear to him.
Murphy “was engaged in the worship and stayed until after the sermon,” Gamble said Monday July 10. “He enjoyed our music ministry and the congregation felt the sincerity of his remarks.”
Gamble added that Murphy “has the support of many parishioners and our pastor” and, after hearing him speak on Sunday, July 9, he understands why they’re supporting a man for governor with a background of working at Goldman Sachs on Wall Street, as well as serving as U.S. ambassador to Germany.
Although Rutherford applauded Gamble’s voting aspirations, recognizing that he lives and votes in Irvington, the pastor focused his attention on Orange voters.
“In this town, in Orange, we’ve got, according to the last census in 2010, 30,000 residents. Our unofficial tally is 50,000 people in this town. We’ve got 15,000 registered voters,” said Rutherford on Sunday, June 4, following his fifth pastoral anniversary service at the church.
“First of all, that’s a shame. That’s 30 percent of the population is registered to vote. We should be somewhere around 30,000 registered voters; twice as many as we have. But even with 15,000 registered voters, with our last Board of Education election, I know all of the challenges, but the leading candidate won with 600 votes. Now, we’ve got to change that, because the county and the state are going to continue to overlook us, as long as our people are not coming out to the polls. If our people come out to the polls, they can’t overlook us.
“It doesn’t matter who you vote for, as long as you vote, because as long as you vote, your vote gets counted and people recognize that there are votes in the city of Orange that need to be won, not that there’s a city of people that can be overlooked because they don’t vote. So I encourage everybody to vote.”