Annual prayer vigil still on

Posted 8/4/20

Faith groups throughout Madison County will hold an annual prayer vigil at the Truman Kimbro Convention Center Aug. 13 as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with organizers stating the need for prayer is greater now than ever.

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Annual prayer vigil still on

Posted

Faith groups throughout Madison County will hold an annual prayer vigil at the Truman Kimbro Convention Center Aug. 13 as planned despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with organizers stating the need for prayer is greater now than ever.

“The virus is out there, but we are still going on with (the vigil) as of now,” said Pastor Edward Collins of Shiloh Baptist Church, who first organized the event in 2015. “We will practice social distancing procedures. Last year, we had a very big crowd. I do not think the crowd will be as big as last year, but we are still on schedule.”

The event has been running strong since 2015, when Collins had the idea after a mass shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina left nine dead. Each victim was Black and targeted by a white supremacist.

“After (the 2015 shootings), one of my young parishioners approached me with a question and a look of concern I will never forget,” said Collins. “She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and stated, ‘I don’t understand, why did the man go into the church and kill those innocent people for no reason? They were at church, a place that is supposed to be safe. Was it because he didn’t like the color of their skin?’ Some of you can only imagine how I felt after she posed that question.”

Collins claims the idea for a community-wide prayer vigil first came to him through a vision from God. It has since grown to include a number of churches in the county and seeks to involve all denominations of faith, ethnic backgrounds, law enforcement agencies, community leaders and school administration.

Collins will present the event’s program to the Madisonville City Council Monday, who have been supportive of the idea of a 2020 vigil.

Churches involved in the vigil include Shiloh Baptist, New Life Baptist, First United Methodist, Madisonville Christian Fellowship, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic, United Pentecostal, Lakeview MBC, Sweet Zion MBC, Pool Chapel MBC, First Baptist (Bedias), First Baptist (North Zulch), First Baptist (Elm) House of Hope, Shiloh Baptist (Bedias), Holy Innocents Episcopal, Cornerstone Bible Church and Cross Pointe Church.

Pastor Jeff Reynolds will deliver a message of unity for the community.

According to the event’s program, prominent community members expected to attend include Madisonville Mayor Bill Parten, Madisonville Police Chief Herbert Gilbert, Madisonville City Manager Camilla Viator, Madison County Sheriff Travis Neely, Madison County Judge Tony Leago, Madison County Emergency Management Coordinator Shelly Butts, District Attorney Brian Risinger, MCISD Superintendent Keith Smith, MCISD Assistant Superintendent C. Keith Smith, Midway Mayor Brenda Ford, Madisonville Fire Chief Thom Jones, Midway Fire Chief Edwin Faw and North Zulch Fire Chief Tony Clay.

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