Massive hurricanes have ravaged much of the Caribbean Islands, floods have gutted homes from Florida to Texas and a Las Vegas shooter has killed and wounded hundreds at a country music concert.
And yet, despite the magnitude of the pain, local pastors say that the Bible and constant prayer are still critical to heal, help and to guide people.
“The church is an essential player for us today,” said Rev. Henry P. Davis, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Highland Park in Landover, Md. “When they talked about the shooter in Las Vegas they said he had no politics and no faith, this is part of the problem.”
Davis focused much of his ministry on community outreach through numerous programs each week that include Tuesday night bible study, after school programs, food pantries and church services several times each Sunday.
From Prince George’s County to Capitol Hill people have gained strength in recent weeks through worship, talking and fellowship. At the Capitol Heights, Md.-based Gethsamane United Methodist Church the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference hosted a program Sept. 30 featuring Dr. Andrew Angelos, from John Hopkins University who talked about “The Impact of Mental Health Issues for African Americans living with HIV-AIDS living in Prince George’s County.”
Several congregations were involved in that event including Walker Mill Baptist Church, Spirit of Peace Baptist – also located in Capitol Heights — and Suitland, Md.-based Ascension Baptist Church.
Rev. Ronald Triplett, a pastor at Gethsemane, said the event was just one of many things his congregation is doing to meet needs in the community.
Rev Mariann Edgar Budde, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, said during a segment on Chanel 9 that in times like these “there is a danger of despair, the danger of hopelessness and that’s where faith and community can be incredibly helpful.”
In September, several thousand people gathered for the Congressional Black Caucus Prayer Breakfast where Gospel Artist Shirley Caesar and Bishop Charles Blake Leader of the Church of God in Christ, in St. Louis, turned the Walter E. Washington Convention Center into a sanctuary.
Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee’s (D-Texas), after spending part of September helping hundreds of victims of the Houston Hurricane, welcomed the event.
“The prayer breakfast was about goodness,” Jackson-Lee told the AFRO. “Bishop (Charles) Blake said when we are the most diminished that’s when the miracles come, a miracle is coming.”
Rocky Twyman, an activist, musician and founder of the Pray at the Pump Movement, a movement that began in 2008 by D.C. residents who assembled at gas stations to pray for lower gas prices, was also at the event. He said in the wake of Las Vegas people of faith have to engage in “spiritual warfare,” and that can only be done by using “the spiritual weapons of prayer and fasting..We must pray like never before.”