A coalition of pastors led about 100 community members through the quiet streets of Newberry on Sunday, July 5th with one common goal: Praying on-sight with insight.
Pastors Karen Burris of Newberry United Methodist, Rocky McKinley of Destiny Community Church, Gary Bracewell of Christian Life Fellowship (CLF) and Armon Lowery of Mt. Zura Gospel Baptist Church each were assigned a path about a mile long to walk and pray along with their groups of 25.
Before the activity, Newberry Mayor Jordan Marlowe spoke to the participants as they gathered at Newberry City Hall at 6 p.m. “Our pastors are working together,” Marlowe said. “This is the first in what I hope will be a perpetual series of events where our churches work together to bring the town together in various ways.
“Hopefully, we can become a model for other communities to emulate.”
Organizer Pastor Gary Bracewell of Christian Life Fellowship asked participants to “Pray with discernment and have empathy for those we come across.”
Pastor Lowery got the route that headed west on Newberry Road and circled the entire Newberry High School grounds including the agriculture classes pastures, the track, baseball field and the football stadium.
For Lowery, the event was a homecoming as well as a community service. He graduated from NHS in 1978 he told his group.
“God has a sense of humor,” Pastor Lowery said. Nine months ago he came back to Newberry to become pastor of Mt. Zura.
“I’ve been gone from Florida for 20 years,” he said. “I ran track, played football, and now I’m pastoring here. Lord you’re funny.”
As his group made its way down Newberry Road, they stopped at Glanzer Realty and prayed that the owner, Joy Glanzer, be successful in her bid to run for Alachua County Commissioner.
“Let’s pray for Glanzer Realty and Joy,” a participant said. “I pray for people like her, she’s running for County Commission.”
The next stop was Bounds Heating and Air.
A participant asked for, “Blessings over all of the businesses” and for the Holy Spirit to enter them and share the Gospel with these businesses, and bare fruit of Christians in these businesses.”
As the group continued down the sidewalk on SW 260th Street the way at a woman sitting on her steps.
“We’re praying for you! God bless you!,” Pastor Lowery said as he waved.
“Would you mind if we stop here and pray with you?” Lowery asked as the group came across a family out for a walk. They all stopped, bowed their heads and prayed.
Even the high school livestock got a visit and they were blessed and thanked for their contributions of teaching students about farming.
As the group circled the track they stopped at a corner and prayed for the schools, the teachers, the county and the students.
“We ask for protection over these students and this school,” participant Emily Naylor said.
At the school entrance the group stopped and formed a circle. They bowed their heads and some lifted hands upward.
“Pray for the principal, pray for the high school, the mayor is a teacher,” Pastor Lowery reminded the group.
CLF member Bradley Parrott, said the prayer. “We pray you give wisdom and discernment and knowledge to the staff,” he said. “We pray you give protection over them as they return, that no one gets sick.”
As the group headed back to the City Hall where they started, they joined up with other groups headed in the same direction and then dispersed
And in that hour, 100 people prayed for the health and safety and success for the neighbors, the community leaders, the schools and the businesses that make Newberry their home.