Rev. Lewis Stewart, community leader and man of faith, laid to rest Saturday
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Community leader Rev. Lewis Stewart Jr. was laid to rest Saturday after years of serving as both a faith leader and advocate for criminal justice reform in Rochester.
Dawn Cleveland describes the reverend as a man of faith, integrity, and influence.
“As long as I can remember, he’s always been a pillar in the community. Going out there and fighting the injustices,” Cleveland said.
Before co-founding and serving as president of the United Christian Leadership Ministry, the Reverend Lewis Stewart Jr. served as chaplain to inmates around New York — where UCLM board member Reverend Alan Dailey said he brought hope to the hopeless and faith to the faithless.
At Saturday’s funeral at Baber A.M.E. Church in Rochester, Reverend Dailey recited a quote from Reverend Stewart Jr.:
“All men and women desire freedom and justice, and if there’s no remedy, and these are denied, then the only remedy is rebellion. God is ours in this struggle for freedom, justice, and human rights.”
Through his organization and advocacy, the reverend led changes in the police department, most notably the use of body worn cameras by officers and civilian review of police misconduct.
But according to Shawn James, who attended the funeral, Reverend Stewart will always be known as family.
“This was an amazing celebration of life today. A strong man. I think so so many people shared so many excellent words to describe him, but for us he was just Uncle Walter, and we’ll love him and miss him,” James said.
Rev. Lewis Stewart Jr. earned his Master of Divinity Degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester and also studied at Syracuse University School of Social Work.