From Staff Reports
NASHVILLE, TN —The “When Men Pray” service showed a strong focus on youth. In 2017, there were 15 homicide victims age 17 and younger. Since January 1 of this year, too many youth have been killed in Nashville, Davidson County.
“With violence surrounding our lives, regardless of age, economic status or zip code, this is a time for men to stand up, be strong and pray, because prayer changes things,” said Pastor Howard Jones, Senior Pastor of Fairfield M. B. Church and candidate for State Senate, District 19.
The program was held at Nehemiah M. B. Church, which meets at the Boys & Girls Club on 16th Ave. North. Pastor Thomas Hunter, Sr., explained why this event was important to the life of the church and the community. “This prayer service allows us to focus on our children and guide them through faith to a life that is fulfilling and rooted in God’s word.”
Rev. Hunter, a volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club, coaches a basketball team of children who are 7 & 8 years old. On the Friday night before the event, he was teaching by coaching and guiding young minds with structure, teamwork and fair play. “By encouraging children in sports, you get their attention and can encourage them in a holistic lifestyle, said Rev. Hunter.
Pastor Jones explained that violence is so prevalent in our lives that we have become inoculated to it and that violence happens because there is a lack of faith. “We must build our faith through hope. Our families need conversations, children need a touch and hug, and someone could simply ask, “How was your day?” He added, “We as individuals and families need to get back to fellowship in our homes, communities and cities.”
Participants in the program prayed with an emphasis on faith, family, fellowship, future and the youth. Quincy Blackmon, who represented the youth said, “We need strong men for our youth. Bless our youth for their future minds. There are boys and girls who do not see a way out, bless them God and give them resources. Help them to keep their eyes on the prize. Remove doubt and fear and renew our minds and our spirits.”
Scott Davis, Councilman for District Five prayed for the families. “To some it seems as though we are in a den of thieves, based on the Hebrew brothers in the fiery furnace. And there are many taking from us—our homes, economic ability, growth and positive self-esteem and more. It is important we get back what the devil stole and be positive role models for our children and families.”
In a spirit of confirmation, the podium used at Nehemiah Church is the same podium Pastor
Jones preached from for his first sermon at Pilgrim Emanuel M.B. Church, when he was 18 years old. He reminiscenced about that day, remembering his parents were in the audience and he was a scared young man entering this new phase of his life as an ordained minister. Now, some 30 plus years later, he spoke from that same podium about saving our children, with plans for yet another new phase in his life, as Tennessee State Senator,
District 19. He explained that speaking from the podium gave special meaning to his remarks. “We have a tremendous responsibility to our children, women and families overall and for the future. “We must lead and we must be vigilant in our leadership. If you are the keeper of the garden, why are the weeds so high? As leaders we cannot sit quietly in our own cocoons with an illusion of inclusion, and let decisions be made for us, without us that do not benefit us.” He added, “This must end and fierce conversations grounded in respect must take place.”
Other participants included, Dal Mang, who prayed about faith, Nesbit Harris, who prayed about fellowship and Folusho Micah, who prayed about the future. The service ended with a unity prayer for the church, the community, the city, the nation and the world.
“As men, it is our responsibility to respect, protect and honor our women, children, the elderly and self,” said Pastor Jones.