NYC Mayor Adams, Rikers Island detainees baptized by the Rev. Sharpton on Good Friday

NEW YORK — It was a very Good Friday for Mayor Eric Adams, who was baptized with inmates at the Rikers Island jail in what he said was a recommitment to the city and to his faith.

“This is Resurrection Sunday coming up,” Adams told the New York Daily News just two days before Easter, the holiest day on the Christian calendar. “We should all look at not only how we can resurrect our city, but how we can resurrect our own personal spaces.”

Adams was joined at the jail by the Rev. Herbert Daughtry, pastor of Brooklyn’s House of the Lord Pentecostal Church, and the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network.

The two ministers baptized Adams and 11 inmates Adams had met with through a prison ministry program called Fatherless No More, which focuses on rehabilitating incarcerated men.

Adams stressed the importance of mentors in the lives of young black men, and credited Daughtry for steering him in the right direction.

“Rev,. Daughtry really put me on this pathway to be a police officer and a mayor,” said Adams, a former New York Police Department captain. “He said you need to funnel all that energy you have in a real direction.”

The mayor’s Good Friday visit was his second trip to Rikers this week. After witnessing inmates get baptized on his visit Tuesday, he promised he would be back, and do the deed himself.

COVID-19 restrictions forced Rikers to shut down the baptismal pool in the prison’s chapel.

To baptize Adams and the others, Sharpton and Daughtry leaned them back, poured water on their heads and then washed their feet, as Jesus, according to the Bible, washed the feet of his disciples.

“It’s a symbol of cleaning your pathway from where you were to where you are going,” Adams said “I could have done it in any church in the city. But I wanted to do it on Rikers Island. I wanted to send a message that they are not forgotten by this mayor.”

Adams, who said he was first baptized 40 years ago, said the ceremony was very moving.

“We sat side-by-side as we took our shoes off to have our feet washed together,” Adams said. “You’d have to see the faces of those inmates seeing the mayor right in the pews with them looking at them and not down at them.”

Adams said the rehabilitation of Rikers inmates is just as important to him as the safety of the city’s correction officers.