Statement by Pastor Jose on Back2School Compassion Bash in Far Rockaway, NY (prepared for Public & Press)

As this city approaches another Anniversary of September 11, there is nothing more fitting and hopeful than seeing youth, young adults, children, and adults of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, of different races, cultures, and languages here, taking time out of their busy schedules to show Compassion to their city and more specifically to this community, which has gone through so much in the last year. This makes us hopeful. 

Today we are here to share once again with Far Rockaway, a community which we love, a community that we have not left since that horrific day when super-storm Sandy made its unwelcome and devastating entrance. Since then, thousands of Adventist Youth and Young Adults led by our Adventist Community Services leaders, Youth Leaders, and the Adventist Youth Emergency Services Corps have been here to clean streets, playgrounds, the coastline, muck houses, dig cars our of the sand, distribute food, hot meals, hot chocolate, and to surprise families with new furniture, among many other things.

Today, we are here to support some of our most vulnerable, our children. We are here to encourage them with a token of love, a school bag with school supplies. We are here to cheer and encourage them as they go back to school and become the next generation of professionals in New York. We believe this is what Jesus would have done. We are also very grateful to the North American Division Adventist Community Services and to its Executive Director, Sung Kwon, for funding this event and making it possible.

Compassion is a movement of Adventist Youth, Young Adults, and friends, who live a life with the priorities of Jesus, 24/7, 365 days a year. Jesus did not spend all of his time preaching with words, but did most of his preaching with actions. Today, we are here to represent Him. We pray that Far Rockaway will see Jesus through us.

Compassion is a movement born right here in the Northeast of the United States and the Islands of Bermuda; it is also rapidly spreading internationally. It is our resolve to continue to take this movement across the Northeast of our country, Bermuda, and have it replicated across the world by other Adventist Youth and Young Adults. Today, we would like to call on the leaders, some of which are present here, the families, the schools, and the churches of New York City to join this movement of compassion. We believe that if our city collectively makes a commitment to a lifestyle of compassion, there will be fewer deaths, less depression, a drop in children and women abuse, a decreases in accidents, much less loneliness, healthier people, and a happier city.

Let’s unite in making New York City, the Capital of Compassion.

Pastor Jose Cortes Jr.