Congregations gather downtown in wake of Supreme Court ruling
Published 10:14 am Tuesday, June 30, 2015
In the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has been received with mixed reactions across the country, a group of local churches came together in prayer Sunday afternoon in front of the Carter County Courthouse.
On Friday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.
In response, pastors from several local churches organized a special prayer vigil. On Sunday afternoon, a crowd of about 60 representing seven congregations in the community gathered in front of the Carter County Courthouse, where they shared Scripture, songs and prayer.
Several pastors spoke during the vigil and encouraged those gathered to pray for wisdom for the leaders of the nation, healing for the community and revival in the church.
“The Supreme Court ruling Friday is why we are here,” said Travis Tyler, pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “We are trying to react in a Christian spirit.”
People who live an alternative lifestyle are not enemies of the church, Tyler said, adding it is up to the church to show the love of Christ and the message of salvation.
“There is a sexual revolution today that holds out empty promises to people,” Tyler said. “That emptiness can only be filled by Christ.”
The message the group hoped to spread on Sunday was one of love.
“We’re not protesting anything,” said Steve Nauman Sr., pastor at Hunter First Baptist Church. “We are calling the church to be the church.”
“We are also praying for revival within the church,” he added. “For us to be an inspiration of the love of Christ that it would draw people to Him.”
While several pastors worked to make the prayer vigil a reality, many of them gave the credit to Nauman for coming up with the idea.
“The Lord just convicted me yesterday morning while I was praying that this was an opportunity for the church to come together as one,” he said. “This is a chance for us to demonstrate we are one church, one body of Christ, not just a bunch of different churches.”
One of the scriptures read during the prayer vigil carries a very strong message for the church, Nauman said.
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” — II Chronicles 7:14.
While the church must pray for the cleansing of the nation, Nauman said Christians must also pray for forgiveness of their own sins, he said, adding the message spread by the church should be uplifting, not condemning.
“That is what the Scripture calls us to do — to build each other up in love,” he said. “If we don’t demonstrate the love of Christ among ourselves then how is the world going to know the good news of Jesus Christ?”
Among the churches involved in Sunday’s prayer vigil were Hunter First Baptist Church, Grace Baptist Church, Immanuel Baptist Church, Phillipi Missionary Baptist Church, Siam Baptist Church, Crosspoint Fellowship Baptist Church and Long Hollow Missionary Baptist Church.