Wednesday, 10 June 2020 21:31

Richmond County pastors come together for unity rally

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Ernie Walters speaks during a unity rally Sunday afternoon. See more photos at the bottom of the page. Ernie Walters speaks during a unity rally Sunday afternoon. See more photos at the bottom of the page. Photos by Betty Gallo McIntyre

ROCKINGHAM — James Brigman is no stranger when it comes to standing up for what he believes.

Brigman pastors St. Paul United Methodist Church in Rockingham and he also advocates in raising awareness for the need to help the disabled; as he and his wife have a daughter who is medically fragile. 

Brigman brought attention to this cause back in July 2017 when he walked from Rockingham to Washington, D.C. 

At one point during his walk, a prayer vigil was held in which people from all cultures attended. “God’s presence moved among us, and it was then that I felt the call for revival,” Brigman said. “God has recently brought this back to my attention; with the virus and all the protests, people are seeking answers and healing during this time of unrest.”

 It was then he decided to organize the gathering that was held Sunday, June 7.

The temps were in the high 90s, and there was no shade as the gathering was held in the parking lot behind the Richmond County Magistrate’s office; although this did not stop the diverse group of supporters from coming out to join the peaceful gathering. 

Folks had umbrellas to help shade them from the sweltering heat as several speakers advocated the need for unity and peace. 

The first speaker was Brigman as he opened in prayer and told of his desire for revival.

“Everyone has a lot of unrest and questions about what’s going on in this world right now,” Brigman said. “I’m seeking to bring peace and a spiritual awakening amongst all people in our country. I would love to see revival.” 

He went on to say how he wanted all sides of the community to come out and listen to one another and try to care for each other. 

“If we want to see change, we need to look within ourselves and seek the kingdom of God,” he continued. “We as a people need to live in the leading of the Spirit of God; the churches need to bring the message of hope to the people and let them know that we have compassion and that we care. It starts in us and only then will change take place around us.” 

His wife Lori quoted the scripture from Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” “This is a command from our Lord Jesus,” she added. “We must see them as God sees them.”

A few of the many scriptures Brigman referred to were: 1 Corinthians chapter 13, which is known as the love chapter; Matthew 5:16, which speaks of letting our light shine; and Micah 6:8, which speaks of acting justly and walking humbly. 

The next speaker to take the stand was Elder Kevin Mayhue from Piney Grove Church in Ellerbe.

“When we are one in Christ, we should see no color,” Mayhue said. “Not one time do I agree with the rioters, all lives matter!” 

He also mentioned the scripture from 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

Pastor Ernie Walters from The Wellspring in Hamlet was up next.

 He began with a prayer which included revelation and understanding among all people. Then he quoted the scripture from 2 Corinthians 5:14 and spoke of how we should be compelled by the love of Christ, and in that love we should see others as Christ sees them. 

“The hope of America is in the body of Christ. Change starts here,” he said, referring to the crowd. 

Last to take the stand was the Rev. Rodger Sims, along with his wife Donna, from Sperring Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville. 

“We are here today due to all the plagues that are in the United States today,” Sims said. “This country started with ‘In God We Trust’ — until lately.” 

He mentioned the scripture in which Jesus spoke “What you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done to me. God is no respecter of persons.” 

“We need to move forward and press on toward the mark,” Sims continued. “Right now we are a divided people, a divided nation. We need to look to God for the answer; we must promote unity. A divided nation cannot stand!”

Sims referred to the church being as a hospital for the hurting so people could come together and be healed. 

“As a black man, I understand what they mean when they say, ‘black lives matter,’ but the issue needs to be addressed properly,” Sims concluded. “We all need to come together as one in Jesus’ name.”

Donna Sims began speaking from 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5, which refers to the times we live in and how we should not be ignorant to them. The scripture also mentioned living at peace with one another and not repaying wrong for wrong. 

“We shouldn’t turn a blind eye to injustice, but instead handling it through prayer and the word of God which puts evil on the run,” she said before asking a few attendees to come up and join her in prayer. 

Prayers were spoken for forgiveness of sins, peace, love for one another, strength, prayers to stop the enemy from prevailing and that good would come out of this for all people. 

“We need you Lord Jesus,” she said in closing, quoting Psalms 133:1: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” 

Brigman then took the stand one last time with the final closing as he spoke about the protests last week. He mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and how King protested peacefully for 12 years. 

“We should be supporters of peaceful protests and come together showing the love of Christ, which can change everything.”