Residents rally around Goodyear through prayer
Posted: Wednesday, March 2, 2011 9:05 pm
An estimated 400 people turned out for a special prayer rally Tuesday night at First Baptist Church in Union City.
On the hearts and minds of those in attendance was the recent announcement by Goodyear that it will be shutting down the Union City tire plant by the end of this year.
First Baptist Church’s interim pastor, Dr. Cecil Sewell, told The Messenger today he was very pleased with the turnout at the rally.
“It was a good crowd,” Dr. Sewell said. He went on to say while he was pleased with the turnout, he would like to have seen more people at the event.
“The main emphasis was prayer,” he told The Messenger this morning.
It’s been almost three weeks since the Feb. 10 announcement was made by Goodyear that the local tire plant will be closed by the end of the year. The Goodyear closure will impact the 1,900 workers there as well as the entire region’s economy.
Organizers of Tuesday’s prayer rally intended for it to be a positive service designed to unite the community.
One of the highlights of the rally was a 60-member community choir, led by First Baptist Church of Union City’s interim music director Steve Russell.
In all, five different chur-ches were directly involved in the rally — First Baptist Church of Union City, First Baptist Church of Troy, Union City Cumberland Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church and Calvary Baptist Church. Also, the missions director from Beulah Baptist Association was involved.
In addition to those churches, many other area churches were represented at the event, along with several local elected officials and business people.
The prayer rally was held in the main sanctuary of Union City First Baptist Church and Dr. Sewell led the program, which lasted about an hour.
David Johnson, a deacon at the church, was the key organizer of the rally.
He told The Messenger today he, too, was pleased with the service and would like to see similar events held in the future for the community.
“This was not a service of defeat, it was a service of unity,” Johnson said today.
“We all left there feeling good … that there is change coming and we’re going to survive it,” he said.
Johnson said the diversity of those at the rally showed him that “every one of us is going to be affected, whether we work at Goodyear or not.”
“What stands out about the rally is our community did come together and we do have hope and there is unity, and in the end God will come through and shine on everything that happens in this area,” Johnson said.
He said there will be other similar events in the future, possibly a rally at an area football stadium to unite the community in the wake of the Goodyear news.
“This is not the end of our support for the community, this is just the beginning,” Johnson said.
Published in The Messenger 3.2.11