Members of the Jerusalem Temple missionary team lead the group in singing Amazing Grace during Saturday’s community prayer service on the courthouse square.
Members of the Jerusalem Temple missionary team lead the group in singing Amazing Grace during Saturday’s community prayer service on the courthouse square.
Several Neshoba County residents came together for a community prayer and praise service throughout the day Saturday on the courthouse square sharing music and testimonies and reading from scripture starting at 8 a.m.

Organizer Chris Vowell said the service was open to all denominations and motivated by a desire to promote unity and to pray for blessings, peace and prosperity for the city of Philadelphia.

Those assembled prayed for the schools and the government as well,  Vowell said.

He  expressed appreciation to the Board of Supervisors for allowing them to erect a tent on the courthouse lawn.

In attendance were representatives from the First Baptist Church, First United Methodist Church, Jerusalem Temple, Holy Cross Catholic Church and the Choctaw Methodist Church, Vowell said.

“We’re excited about the denominational lines,” he said. “ It’s not a denominational deal, and it’s not a racial deal. We’re seeing real unity.”

Vowell’s wife, Stacey, said unity was needed.

“We just believe with the chaos in our nation, the desire of God obviously is for unity and for things to come together,” she said.

 “Everybody’s not going to agree on issues, but it’s the Lord that brings unity and it’s His love that tears down walls of division.”

Lisa Lyon, an evangelist at Jerusalem Temple Apostolic Pentecostal Church, said, the service was for “singing, and lifting up the name of Jesus, in the open air, and praying and reading scriptures and giving testimonies of things that God has done in our lives.”

Her husband, Willis, agreed, noting those in attendance want God to bring about a change in the lives of people “concerning drug issues or gang violence and individuals who have conflicts.”

Pastor Granard McClendon of Victory Christian Center Church  saw the meeting as an opportunity to offer a message of hope. He said a lot of people in society and in the church, as well, are without hope.

 “I think the Bible tells us the field is the world,” McClendon said. “It’s most important what’s happening in the community, touching people lives because many people are not coming to church.

“Many people are downtrodden. They just feel like there’s no hope. So our goal is to inspire, to encourage, and to show love everywhere we go. That’s our ultimate goal as believers.”

The event concluded around 10 p.m. following music by a college-aged group from Tuscaloosa.

This was the second community prayer service in recent weeks in downtown Philadelphia.