Striking a contrast to his rival in the mayor's race, Vincent C. Gray said Sunday he would reestablish an Office of Religious Affairs to "strengthen the bond" with the city's religious community that he said has been weakened under incumbent Mayor Adrian M. Fenty.
Gray's comments came during a worship service at Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church service in Shaw, the first of three stops at churches throughout the District in the final weekend before Tuesday's Democratic primary.
Gray, the D.C. Council chairman, received a standing ovation from the congregation and its pastor, H. Lionel Edmonds. During the service, Edmonds made reference to allegations that a volunteer for Fenty's campaign offered young people jobs in exchange for their votes, an accusation the campaign has denied.
"We don't need to have anyone pay us to vote. We want to vote," Edmonds said.
After the service, Gray noted that Fenty, who finished the Nation's Triathalon Sunday, had not "had much of a relationship with the church in the last four years."
During his term, Fenty abolished an office of religious affairs and forwarded its duties to the community affairs office.
Later today, Fenty is expected to appear at the annual Adams Morgan Day festival before attending a premiere of a documentary film featuring schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee and then heading to tonight's Washington Redskins game.
-- Ann E. Marimow