Pastors say healing after election begins with Youngstown prayer service

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A prayer service will be held Wednesday outside the Covelli Centre

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Plans are already being made for the day after the election to heal what some in Youngstown’s Christian community are calling “unprecedented stress and division.”

A prayer service will be held Wednesday outside the Covelli Centre.

The two pastors hosting the event, Michael Harrison, pastor of Youngstown’s Union Baptist Church, and Gary Gray, pastor of Austintown’s Highway Tabernacle, stood behind the Covelli Centre Monday discussing the division in the Christian community.

“This election has created a gap between people that I don’t know I’ve sever seen before,” Gray said.

Harrison agrees but hopes, with guidance, people can move past what divides them.

“That even in the midst of these moments when you think there is a disconnect, you need to look at it as an opportunity to connect maybe to something better,” Harrison said.

On Wednesday, the day after the election, the pastors will lead a prayer service and talk about non-political issues.

“We’re dealing with the fact of love. Do we really love each other? And if not, we have to do something about that. De we care for one another? If not, we have to do something about that,” Harrison said.

Gray said coming together to pray is a way to bring everyone back to where they need to be.

“We’ve got way more in common that we’ve got dividing us. We’ve just lost sight of that,” Gray said.

Have they seen a division in their own churches?

“I’m sure it’s there. We haven’t talked about it inside the body. I’m sure it is there, though,” Gray said.

“There is a lot of division. We sometimes take for granted that African Americans are of one sect of belief or voting block, and that is not true,” Harrison said.

Gray said when he was invited to partner with the prayer service he knew immediately it was the thing to do.

“This was a good thing, and I wanted to be part of it,” he said.

Harrison said the event is not a one-stop to solve the problem but a starting point where more work comes down the road.

“It’s not going to be a kumbaya after we get done having a good time and blessing the Lord we go home. No, there are some action steps because if you don’t put feet on your fate and engage other people, things say the same,” Harrison said.

The prayer service will be socially distanced, and people are being asked to wear masks. An FM radio feed will also be provided should people want to stay in their vehicles.

The event, titled “In God We Trust, On Christ, We Stand,” will be held Wednesday, Nov. 4, from noon to 1 p.m. in the parking lot of the Covelli Centre.

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