The Perfect Enemy | N.J. church honors members dozens who died from COVID (PHOTOS)
December 6, 2022
Read Time:1 Minute

A New Jersey church held a memorial service Sunday for all of the members of the congregation who passed away from COVID-19.

Members of the Saint James AME Church, which has locations in Newark and South Orange, gathered at the Eagle Rock Reservation Remembrance and Rebirth 9/11 Memorial Site in West Orange Sunday afternoon.

The congregation released lanterns into the sky to honor the 40-plus members who have passed away from the virus since 2020.

Many of those who died early on during the pandemic did not have a proper funeral, Rev. Dr. Ronald Slaughter said.

“This Sunday Mass Memorial Celebration is our way of comforting the family members and friends of the 40 members who have passed away,” Slaughter added. “Releasing lanterns is our way of honoring the life of the deceased and remembering that they are now with our God.”

Eric Smith and his brother Torrian Smith holding a picture of their mother Sarah Smith, Torion Roye holding a pic of his mother Lita McPhail Roye and Ordeen Rutledge holding a picture of her mother Gwendolyn Tatum. Family and friends remember those from St. James AME church who died from COVID-19 during a memorial celebration at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, N.J. on Nov. 20, 2022 Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Covid memorial

Cory Cuffee helps sort pictures. Family and friends remember those from St. James AME church who died from COVID-19 during a memorial celebration at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, N.J. on Nov.,20, 2022 Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for

Covid memorial

Family and friends remember those from St. James AME church who died from COVID-19 during a memorial celebration at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, N.J. on Nov. 20, 2022 Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Covid memorial

Family and friends remember those from St. James AME church who died from COVID-19 during a memorial celebration at Eagle Rock Reservation in West Orange, N.J. Nov. 20, 2022 Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for

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Nicolas Fernandes may be reached at nfernandes@njadvancemedia.com