Thursday, January 12, 2012


Getting the cuffs put on and lead to bus.
Yes brethren, today, in an act of civil disobedience, I was arrested.  We were outside of Morris High School, where Mayor Bloomberg was to give his "State of the City" address.  We took part in a protest rally in the hope of changing the minds of the powers that be…who have begun a process to evict churches who rent school space, after school hours, for church services.  There are tons of articles online but you can go here for a quick reference…

Go HERE  /  and go HERE  /  and go HERE

So first things first...I am home, safe and sound and a bit exhausted as I write this as soon as I could after getting home from the 41st Precinct.  The next thing you should know is that I send out MAJOR prayers and big ups to the officers from the 41st Precinct who handled us with care and love and understanding.  We know they were just doing their jobs and all, but the truth is they were truly all a blessing to us, every one of them.  I got to personally interact with several officers and found myself face to face with people I know and love...they were us, from our own communities and hoods.  Some were Marine veterans.  Some were mothers or fathers.  Some came from church backgrounds and one officer had one more year on the job.  Thank you 41st Precinct and all the officers at the rally, from top to bottom, for your service to our community!    Our prayers are always with you and all your brothers and sisters in blue. 

So, on to the rally.  I got there very early, not by design but by chance, as I left all my travel directions home...I was scared I'd get lost!  But God has been restoring my memory and I remembered my train and bus route and I got to the rally early, before there was even a designated meeting place.  So I walked around the school (a very long walk lol) and prayed, alone, asking for God to move in a special way today.  Quiet time with God is so good.

When I returned to the front where all the police activity was taking place, an officer saw my collar, yes...I wore the minister's collar...and asked if I was “there for the protest?"  I said yes and she directed me to a corner where we would be meeting.  Once I got there, there was a whirlwind of activity as pastors, lawyers, civic leaders, politicians and lay people of all kinds showed up.

Pastor Sign In Table

Once all the introductions were done, we were gathered to a barricaded space, and we began praying and singing songs like Amazing Grace, said the pledge of allegiance...with the "under God" portion IN it, and had various politicians share a few words.  And was on!

We moved in waves toward Morris High School.  First wave was a bunch of pastors and leaders I know and love.  Mentors and icons of the faith as well as emerging leaders.  Not seeing what happened to the 1st wave, I lined up for the 2nd wave and I look to my left and my right, the brothers whose arms I was locked with, and found myself arm-in-arm with young men.  Not clergy, not pastors, but young men who believe in the cause.  I almost began to cry. However, as we moved and I wondered what would happen, I have to be honest, I began to breath heavy, as my heart rate shot up and my blood pumped super quickly.  Let me make one thing clear…I was not scared, I was excited for this to happen.  So I had to slow them down, they were almost walking too fast for a protest, and I took some deep breaths as we began to just call on Jesus’ name.  Then as the police approached us, one of the young men said out loud, “Let’s kneel.”  And our wave kneeled down to pray for a moment.  The police then did their jobs and we were cuffed and lead to the police bus. 

About to be taken to precinct...they took the mug shots here!
Once on the bus we joined the 1st wave of protesters already arrested and as the bus continued to fill up, we sang songs, prayed for the officers who had just arrested us, joked, laughed and even got to interact on a personal level with some of the officers.  I laughed as one officer kept calling me “Father.”  We were taken to the 41st Precinct where we were treated with respect and dignity as they processed us as fast as possible and released us with court dates. 

So what got my heart so open and joyous?  Here’s a list:

1.     Young people joined in this rally.  Students!  To see young people moved by the heart of God to do something so radical is crazy encouraging!  God is radical and the future of the church, in the hands of these young men and women, will be to continue to move by His spirit!

2.     Older people joined in this rally!  From elder statesmen (names removed to protect the innocent) to grandmothers.  People of all ages were represented! 

3.     Sitting in that bus, handcuffed, with my shoulders feeling as if they were going to pop out of their sockets, I couldn’t help but think about the Civil Rights Movement and how they paved a way for us in this country to act out of our convictions in civil disobedience.  We even sang “We Shall Overcome” in honor of Dr. King’s upcoming birthday!

4.     As mentioned before, the police officers who were obviously ONLY doing their jobs and sympathized with us on every level also treated us with respect and dignity even as they arrested us.  They explained everything and even made adjustments to cuffs that were killing circulation.  Plus, at least for myself, I got to speak with some of them on a very real, one-to-one level, learning about their lives on the job and off.  Former marines, married men and women, even one who had one year on the job and is hoping to finish his career healthy and safe.  We were allowed to pray for the officers who were on our bus and they were all silent as we lifted up prayers on their behalf.  God protect these civil servants and draw them to YOU! 

A bunch of activists for Christ!
5.     Finally, the last thing that blew me away was the solidarity of those who are involved in the movement.  People who I know, ministry partners, classmates, friends...some I only know by reputation and some I  have followed and tried to “imitate them as they imitate Christ.”  I won’t name names…but one of my favorite preachers ever, who was instrumental in me rapping and confirming my calling, got arrested in the final wave and when he walked into the room they had us in at the precinct, the room erupted!  Seriously, for some of these brothers, I NEVER ONCE IN LIFE expected to have this experience with.  I’m changed by it! 

Thank you brethren for loving Jesus and His church so much that you would put yourselves in harm’s way.  Let’s continue to do His work on this earth as we move and breathe as His hands and feet…the only visible mark on this planet that there even IS a church!  WE are the church!

Until the next rally, much luv and blessings,

Pastor Efrain Alicea
Arrested for the cause of Christ!


Can you spot the Covenant Pastors?

PS...more pics on Facebook page! 

This is me after the release!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Wednesday, January 4, 2012