Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray started his inauguration day Sunday with a prayer service attended by several hundred well-wishers and supporters.
The Rev. Dr. Henry Y. White of Brown Memorial AME Church led the service, which featured Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu leaders, as well as a gospel choir. "Thank you for a new year, a new season, a new beginning," he said, adding a prayer that "every leader will feel included in the moving forward of our city."
Gray's campaign theme of "one city" was touched on by several speakers, who also spoke of the magnitude of the tasks facing the new mayor.
"This is a mammoth job, a big job," said the Rev. Dr. William H. Bennett of Good Success Christian Church in Ward 7, in a prayer for Gray. "But this is a big man with a big heart."
D.C. Council chairman-elect Kwame R. Brown and colleagues Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), Mary M. Cheh (D-Ward 3), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5), Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), and Marion Barry (D-Ward 8). Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier attended the service, as did Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III and former county executive Wayne Curry.
Japan's ambassador to the U.S., Ichiro Fujisaki, also attended the service. He shouted his congratulations to Gray when introduced.
Gray afterward called the service "a great example of the fact we are one city."
His swearing-in, along with those of council members, is set to begin at 10 a.m. Cardinal Donald Wuerl is expected to give an invocation then.