, Columbia Union Visitor
Shaken and saddened by the death of a young black man and rioting, Seventh-day Adventists from across Baltimore gathered to pray for healing in their U.S. city.
“I dare you to let this be the beginning of pestering God … till He heals our land,” said David Franklin, senior pastor of Miracle Temple Adventist Church. “We are lifting our voices to God so he can lead the city of Baltimore.”
Pastors from eight Baltimore churches attended and led the service at the Berea Temple Adventist Church on Wednesday night, petitioning God to be with the hurting members of the community, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, police and the church.
Rawlings-Blake has placed Baltimore under a weeklong curfew after clashes broke out on Monday in connection with last week’s death of Freddie Gray, 25, while in police custody. The mayor has blamed the eruption in violence on “thugs.”
Jose Cortes Jr., associate ministerial director for evangelism at the North American Division, encouraged the church members at the prayer meeting to go into the community and be the “hands and feet of Jesus” and the “heart and hands of the community.”
Franklin and two other Adventist pastors did just that on Monday evening, embracing and talking with gang members and participating in a peace walk by the city's clergy.
Vincent Dehm, lead pastor of the Re-Creation Adventist Church, called for church members to work together and forgive injustices.
“As long as we are divided, the enemy wins,” he said. “I believe we can rise above this to get better.”
Lifelong Berea Temple member Eleanor Waters-Gibbons said she attended because she saw a need in the community and wanted the church to help.
“If we go to the corner right now, we see drug dealers,” she said. “Those same people are God’s children, and we can minister to them greatly. … I’m praying to God that we can come [together] as a church to go out and do what Jesus wants us to do.”