Chaplain’s Corner, November 2013

Something About a Kindly Light

I was warmed to hear some time ago – like forty years or so – that Gandhi, the driving force behind the ending of Britain’s colonial rule of India, was a life-long Hindu, yet found something close to his heart in a hymn he often sang while studying at Oxford – “Lead, Kindly Light.” His feeling was something about the insight that the hymn expressed, that the Almighty (by whatever name one might call the Divine and Greater-than-we) who spoke the word, “Let there be Light!” was truly the Very Light of all that is. However, that power, he affirmed, was not impersonal, arbitrary, or malevolent – but instead, was kindly, loving, and blessed. How right, he thought, to pray that such a Lord should lead a person rather than make life’s travelers stumble along blindly, led only by willfulness (selfish, self-seeking, oppressive pride).

In his darkest moments of doubting the wisdom of his good intentions, Gandhi was often comforted by the prayer that he should find “one step enough for me,” instead of expecting that he’d always see the “big picture” clearly and proceed flawlessly on the right path. He taught that the humility suggested by such a phrase would save a person from anger-creating, hate-generating frustration that turned many well-intended saviors into “my way or the highway”-type ogres.

He also appreciated how good it is to be rescued from pride and seeking power, fame, and treasure, which entice a person into ways of destruction. We are converted lovingly from narrowness and strengthened in generosity, sensitivity, and altruism.

The words to whish he was referring said, “Lead, kindly Light, amid th’encircling gloom;?Lead thou me on!?The night is dark, and I am far from home;?Lead thou me on!? Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see?The distant scene–one step enough for me. I was not ever thus, nor pray’d that thou?Shouldst lead me on.?I loved to choose and see my path; but now,?Lead thou me on!? I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,?Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years. [Text: John Henry Newman, 1801-1890]

It is interesting to note that the author of that hymn was an Anglican cleric (ordained June 13, 1824 in the Church of England) who became a Roman Catholic in 1845. His lifestyle was so modest and pious and his academic credits so impressive that he was made a Cardinal in the Church that allowed his expression of such a blessed hope.

Newman’s expressions of faith influenced Gandhi in such a way that the Protestant or Roman Catholic backgrounds of his life did not stand in the way of his treasuring the thoughts and prayers about which he wrote or sang. How significant in the upcoming seasons of Light for so many people of humble faith that we find joy in the thought that the Author of Light is indeed kindly toward us. We are encouraged therefore to bring enlightenment to others who find themselves limited by the encircling gloom, by standing for the right, defending the oppressed, providing for those in need as opportunity presents possibilities to us, and rejoicing in the warmth in which we give thanks for all we’ve ever received – more than we’d ever deserved or ever dreamed. How very kindly is the Light, indeed.

Chaplain James G. Anderson

President’s Message, November 2013

I sincerely wish to start this message by thanking Joe Pistone (Donnie Brasco), former FBI Agent, for honoring us with his presence at our September meeting. Joe spoke for over an hour discussing the sacrifices one has to make before taking a deep undercover assignment. He also related some of the precarious situations he was placed in and some of the humorous aspects of his assignment. It was truly amazing because you could have heard a pin drop during Joe’s presentation. I also want to thank Randy Jurgensen (Ret Det. NYPD) for making us aware of the assistance Joe provided during the Phil Cardillo assassination investigation.

Mike Villa has scheduled our 2013 Shields Children’s Holiday Party for Sunday, December 15th at The Inn At New Hyde Park. Details are on page 7 of this newsletter. Mike is asking the membership to help make this affair a big success by donating gift cards for baskets to be raffled, or by donating a basket to be raffled. Raffle tickets will be available at the next meeting. We ask your support to help finance this special event. Our children and grand children always enjoy the party and Santa’s visit.

The next meeting will be the start of our annual Toys for needy Children campaign. Please remember to bring an unwrapped toy for a child.

Hope we see you at our November meeting, bring a potential member.

If you can’t make it, have a Happy Thanksgiving and be safe. to always wear your vest while on duty. Remember someone who can no longer be with us.


Police Officer of the Month, November 2013

Tonight we are here to honor the excellent teamwork of Hempstead Police Officers Christopher Cohen and Roman Pettway. Though there are many examples of their professional police work, tonight we will focus on two instances in particular. On June 28, 2012 at approximately 1:00 pm these officers were dispatched to a location on Main St to investigate a report of two suspicious individuals. Upon arrival the officers discovered these two subjects were in possession of numerous electronic items and a substantial amount of jewelry. Evasive answers by the subjects to the officers questions further aroused their suspicions. PO Cohen , knowing that earlier in the day he had taken a burglary report from a homeowner who had electronic items and jewelry stolen, further investigated with PO Pettway. PO Cohen subsequently found a photo of the burglary victim on a Sony camera that was in possession of the subjects. The subjects were arrested, gave full confessions and the burglary victim had her property returned.

The second incident occurred on November 27, 2012. At approximately 1:30 am both officers were operating a marked police vehicle in a high crime area. The officers heard several gunshots coming from the immediate area. When they turned the corner they observed two subjects firing a handgun across the roadway. When the officers exited their vehicle the subjects fled on foot. The officers gave chase and followed the subjects through numerous darkened yards. Shortly thereafter the subjects were apprehended and a .45 caliber handgun was recovered. One of the subjects gave a full admission that the gun was his and he was firing at another individual.

Though both very different incidents, both are fine examples of exemplary patrol work and heroic actions resulting in the apprehension of dangerous felons. For these acts of professionalism and courage the Shields of Long Island are proud to present our Police Officer of the Month honor to PO Christopher Cohen and PO Roman Pettway.