Prayer walk scheduled for next weekend
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on September 7, 2013 10:33 PM
The second annual "God Belongs in My City" prayer walk next weekend is expected to draw an even larger crowd than the estimated 2,000 people who attended its first outing in 2012, organizers say.
Terry Jones, associate pastor at Place of Refuge Ministries, said extensive efforts were made through social media and letters sent out to churches about this year's event, planned for Saturday at Goldsboro High School.
The audience may grow and there will be more local artists on the program, but the mission remains the same, Jones said.
"It's going to be a powerful day -- prayer and worship, the community and churches coming together, honoring God together," he said.
Now a worldwide effort, "God Belongs in My City" prayer walks started in New York City in 2009. Goldsboro's event was prompted by the string of murders committed in and around the city.
"We still want to raise our community awareness to some of the things that are going on," Jones said. "We want to be able to show support and compassion for our community and for those that have lost loved ones, and for the young people.
"More importantly, we want to provide an opportunity for a faith-based community to step outside of the (church walls), to be part of the community, to show compassion."
This year's event will be similar to the one held previously, starting with a prayer walk around different parts of downtown. Jones said he is coordinating the route with Goldsboro police.
"We do have intentions of getting more into the inner city, a little bit closer to some of those, I hate to say it this way, but areas that people might say would need it the most," he said.
The crowd is expected to gather at GHS on Beech Street at 4 p.m., with the walk to start at 4:30. Around 6 p.m., everyone will meet back at the high school football field, where an outdoor worship service will take place.
"Along with the concert and various artists, we will have a 'prayer moment,' with various church leaders," Jones said. "Outside of the walk that's actually the most intimate and impactful moment for all of us to be there on the stage and the football field."
Featured on the program this year will be Travis Greene, a Charlotte-based national recording artist and minister, as well as a diverse group of local artists.
"We'll have groups to represent the young, groups to represent those who are a little bit older," Jones said. "I think most importantly, even with our groups they understand the diversity of the event. Every group has a desire and a passion to step out of their parameters. We're excited about that."
The groundswell of support for the upcoming event meant having to turn away some of the potential performers.
"We're just excited to have an opportunity to showcase what God is doing in our area in music and the arts," Jones said. "Of course we can't showcase everybody. Every year we look to bring more and to add more. If we keep doing this long enough, we're going to have an opportunity to touch a lot of people."
He said he can see "God Belongs in My City" becoming the group's "main event" and others popping up during the year.
"That's our heart. We do want to continue it," he said. "But limited funds and things of that nature, we haven't been able to do that yet. I'm believing and praying that time is going to be approaching."
Jones said in addition to donations and business and church sponsorships to sustain the endeavor, he also welcomes volunteers to help with this year's event.
"The best way to really connect with us at this point is through our Facebook page," he said. "We're constantly fielding information and communicating through our Facebook page."
There will also be a limited number of T-shirts available for purchase at $15 each, he said. A booth will be set up for that purpose, until supplies run out.
For more information on the event, email gbimc firstname.lastname@example.org, visit the Facebook page, God Belongs in My City, or follow on Twitter at #gbimcgoldsboro.