By Ashley Chambers District 3 Councilmember Lynette McElhaney kicked off her four-year term on the Oakland City Council at Evergreen Baptist Church surrounded in prayer by the clergy of Oakland at her Inaugural Prayer Service Saturday, Jan. 5. The United Clergy of Oakland, Pastors of Oakland, Baptist Ministers Union, Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and Bay Cities Baptist Ministers Union came together to support McElhaney as their District 3 candidate this past election and are standing with her as advocates for the communities of Oakland. Dale Anthony and True Vine Ministries sang and played at the event. Bishop Frank Pinkard, Dr. J Alfred Smith, Sr., Bishop Ernestine Reems, and Pastor Zachary Carey were among the clergy speaking blessings over McElhaney. “We feel that she will be a strong voice for some of the issues that we are facing in Oakland: one-violence, two-jobs, and three-something needs to be done with our schools,” said Dr. Gerald Agee, Pastor of Friendship Christian Center. “We are letting her know that the community and the clergy are behind her,” he said. A member of True Vine Ministries and Black church traditions, the councilmember said she will provide a voice for the concerns of the church community. “In Oakland, it’s been too long where the church has not been respected and has not really exercised an organized voice,” McElhaney said. “I’m really excited about being able to create a platform for the concerns of this community to be heard, and it does align on those issues of jobs, of justice, of youth, both protection and development,” she said. “That’s when you start getting into the areas of homicides, what’s going on in education, economic development, job creation, the fairness to African American businesses and entrepreneurs, and what’s going on in the foreclosure crisis. “Those are things that really touch our congregations, and they are matters of incredible importance to this city. I’m excited about being able to be the nexus on both the issues and the communities that matter,” McElhaney said. Dr. Gregory Payton of St. John Baptist Church delivered the Prayer of Consecration as clergy and the community embraced McElhaney with support and their vision of a better future for Oakland.