African-American Church Worships in Jewish Temple

After a three-alarm fire ravaged their church last week, a large African-American congregation from New Orleans was invited to worship at an uptown Jewish temple Sunday.

“We are eternally grateful to Rabbi Edward Cohn [of Temple Sinai] for opening their doors to receive our church family in love,” said Debra B. Morton, senior pastor of the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church. “They are true examples of God’s love here on earth.”

The historic New Orleans landmark was destroyed by what fire officials said was most likely an electrical malfunction, though an official cause of fire is yet to be determined.

Congregation Temple Sinai was the first Jewish temple to be founded in New Orleans and is today the largest synagogue in the state. Cohn, the temple’s rabbi, called the aftermath of last week’s fire “an opportunity for interfaith love and cooperation.”

“Temple Sinai is a house of prayer for all people and all who enter our doors in the spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood are always welcome.”

Bishop Paul S. Morton, who recently made his wife senior pastor of Greater St. Stephen, said Hurricane Katrina proved three years ago that “the citizens of New Orleans are a resilient people. I have no doubt in my mind that because we are people of faith, God will see us through,” he said. “The new Greater St. Stephen sanctuary will be even greater.”

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