The Rev. Al Sharpton on Sunday said many people are concerned about today’s political climate and ready to give up hope.
“We are in very perilous times. We are at a time when many of us are confused, complexed and distraught,” said Sharpton during his sermon at St. Mark Remnant Ministries Inc. in Central Islip.
He was there to celebrate the birthday of his cousin Roderick Pearson, pastor of the church. But he also used his time to preach about President Donald Trump facing national backlash and undoing many of the policies for which former president Barack Obama worked hard.
“Let not your heart be troubled. I know God will make a way because he’s already made a way,” Sharpton said to applause. About 75 people were on hand.
Pearson and Sharpton grew up in Brooklyn as young church ministers, fighting for justice and civil rights. Their families grew up together in Alabama.
“Growing up, people said I would be a preacher like Sharpton,” said Pearson, former president of the Islip branch of the NAACP. He is the current Long Island regional director for the NAACP.
Pearson, who has been pastor of the church for seven years and 21 overall, said three people have influenced his life: Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King Jr. and Sharpton.
“We’re cousins but even more so, we’re joined at the hip in the ministry and in the struggle,” Sharpton said.
Pearson, who turned 56 on Thursday, said he recently disclosed to those close to him that he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. He now wants use to his ministry to draw attention to the illness.
Church members called Sharpton’s message inspirational.
“This community needed to hear a message from God through Rev. Al,” church member Marvin Smith said. “This is something we’ve been looking forward to. We’re over-the-moon thrilled.”
Others echoed the sentiment.
“To have another community leader and activist here to help is phenomenal,” church member Dawn Lott said. “It’s wonderful to have someone of his stature here. He’s here to support our pastor.”