By Kendra Moorer, Special to the Westside Gazette
Imagine a room full of some of Broward County’s most faithful female leaders. What do you see? If the visual is one of unity then you have the right idea.
Last week, in honor of Women’s History Month, the Broward Sheriff’s Office celebrated female spiritual leaders in the agency’s first-ever Women’s Clergy Appreciation Breakfast. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel envisioned the event as a way to applaud clergywomen who are committed to uniting Broward.
“Women are the fiber of the community,” Sheriff Israel said. “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack. These strong and caring clergywomen are the wolves and we need to uplift and support them.”
The appreciation breakfast, which was organized by the BSO Chaplain’s Office, featured performances by Captain Angela Neely and Colonel Gary Palmer. Both Neely and Palmer are members of BSO’s jazz band. In attendance at the Urban League of Broward County were nearly 100 local spiritual leaders from all faiths. The guests were regaled by three dynamic speakers: BSO Captain Josefa Benjamin, who manages the Paul Rein Detention Facility; Madeline Kline, who coordinates Calvary Chapel’s prison ministry for women; and Dr. Janice Dillard, pastor of Revival Faith Center Ministries. The speakers were selected for their humble service to inmates and the larger Broward County community.
Dillard, one of the featured speakers, talked about the importance of female leaders partnering with BSO and shared her gratitude for the agency. “I’m so thankful for the sheriff’s department. They have made a difference in our community,” she said.
BSO’s first African-American chaplain, Nathaniel Knowles, anticipates this celebration being an annual event. “We plan to have events like this every year, and we hope to relieve the fear towards law enforcement and ignite a partnership,” he said.
Attendees left feeling encouraged to continue their work in their communities. “I felt inspired to see our law enforcement leaders recognize the importance of faith, and I would recommend that more women join [BSO’s] Chaplain’s Office and get involved,” said Rebeca Segebre, an advocate for orphans.