Creating a better community takes finding common goals, respecting differences and making positive contributions, speakers at the Annual Interfaith Breakfast said Thursday.
The event, which brings people from different religious backgrounds together each year, drew more than 100 people, including local leaders, to the Goldsboro Event Center.
"As different as we may be with our beliefs, we share one thing in common and that is our community," said Apostle Edwin Von Newsome, lead pastor of Impact Church Goldsboro. "Society and civilization will not exist, and exist well, if we don't know how to coexist.
"We can never co-exist well without character, without those core common things that develop that level of respect, that level of honesty, and that level of integrity that helps us to respect what is different from us."
The breakfast, which included remarks from three keynote speakers, focused on the theme "Where Do We Go From Here" in celebration of Human Relations Month. The theme also coincides with the city of Goldsboro's focus on creating a community that is "better together."
Von Newsome said the local community can move forward together if people are willing to make positive contributions and sacrifice to improve the Goldsboro and Wayne County area.
"I think it all starts with each and every single individual taking responsibility, making a contribution and then being willing to make a sacrifice for somebody else," Von Newsome said. "That's what I believe is going to help us in Goldsboro and make Goldsboro a better place. Together, we can do it better."
Pastor John Howard, executive and worship pastor of The First Pentecostal Holiness Church, also said the answer lies with each person.
"Where do we go from here?" Howard said. "It's all about you. It actually starts in your heart. You've got to take the ball and run with it.
"It doesn't start with the community. It starts with your address. It starts with you."
Dr. Qasim Siddiqui Mohammed, an imam and khateeb with the Islamic Center of Goldsboro, said that people need to get to know each other and respect differences while finding common ground. He said that the violence in society today is difficult to grasp.
"What is happening around us these days is beyond comprehension and forces our heads down as human beings," Mohammed said.
He also said that people need to let go of prejudice and seek for peace. People of different religious backgrounds also need to dialogue with each other.
"There will be peace on earth when there is peace among the world religions," he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, we must counterbalance those forces that seek to undermine religious tolerance and human rights so that we can live together with unconditional love, total harmony and utmost respect."
The morning program was hosted by members of the Goldsboro Commission of Community Affairs and the Goldsboro Community Relations Department, in partnership with Wayne County and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base.
Also speaking at the event were Mayor Chuck Allen, Wayne County Manager Craig Honeycutt and Senior Master Sgt. Carolyn Russell, installation diversity and inclusion chair at Seymour Johnson AFB.