Prayer service a chance for unity

Since it was formed almost 10 years ago, the organization Faith in the Future has had a very simple mission: To pray for the well-being of our community.

Organizers will show they stand behind that simple concept at 7 p.m. Monday when they hold an ecumenical prayer service at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on North Fourth Street.

Pastors representing different denominations will be a part of the evening, which Tracy McManamon, chairman of Faith in the Future, has promised will be a time of inspiration and hope.

The service comes just two days before the trial of two Steubenville High School students – Trent Mays of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond of Steubenville – who are accused of raping a 16-year-old Weirton girl gets under way before visiting Judge Tom Lipps at the Jefferson County Justice Center.

Tension has been building in our area since the alleged crime came to light in the middle of August. Several rallies have been held in Steubenville, and the case has attracted the attention of national and international media.

It’s against that backdrop that Monday’s service will take place. The speakers McManamon and his organization have gathered are leaders not only in their respective churches, but in our community as well: The Rev. Calvin McLoyd of Second Baptist Church; Pastor Vaughn Foster; the Rev. Richard Davis, TOR, vice president for community relations at the Franciscan University of Steubenville; and recently installed Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of the Diocese of Steubenville.

They will, in McLoyd’s words, seek to accomplish unity through the prayer service, while recognizing, as Monforton said, that “Our community is in need of justice and healing as best as can be determined by our civil means.”

Make no mistake, what will take place in the justice center is serious business. That said, it’s important to know that people of faith are willing to gather to pray for members of our community.