STEUBENVILLE - Religious leaders from throughout the city called for unity and peace in a community that is embracing for national attention this week when two Steubenville High School students go on trial facing rape charges in Jefferson County Juvenile Court.
"Some of the media are here listening and waiting to hear something about the rape trial, the shootings and drug activity in our city. We can say the steel mills are long gone. There are shootings and rape. And we can say the last person to leave should turn out the lights. But we can say Lord we don't have the answer, but Lord you know the answers," stated Pastor Vaughn Foster of Christ's Community Church.
"We as a city are in need of God's hope. And we get that hope by being in God's presence. We pray that God will invade our city," Foster added.
GATHERED FOR PRAYER — Clergy members of Faith in the Future gathered Monday night at St. Peter Catholic Church in Steubenville calling for unity and peace in the community. Taking part in the one-hour prayer service were, from left, Pastor Vaughn Foster of Christ’s Community Church, Pastor Gary Hallberg of Word of Life Fellowship, the Rev. Calvin McLoyd of Second Baptist Church, Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville, the Rev. Ashley Steele of Urban Mission Ministries and the Rev. Richard Davis, TOR, of Franciscan University of Steubenville. - Dave Gossett
Approximately 150 people attended the prayer service Monday night at St. Peter Catholic Church to hear several calls for prayers and hope.
"It's time to make a choice. The choice is between opposing forces. The first choice is nefarious where we look for the forces of evil as well as doom and gloom. The other choice is amelioration, which means to improve or make things better. We live at a time when we make a choice as to which side of history we will be on. I choose to be on the side of amelioration. I am trying to make things better and to reach out to broaden the community and to make this community a better place," said the Rev. Calvin McLoyd, pastor of the Second Baptist Church in Steubenville.
Bishop Jeffrey M. Monforton of the Catholic Diocese of Steubenville asked the people in the pews, "what is an announcement?"
"I recall announcing to my family in 1986 that I wanted to be a priest. My family will never forget that announcement and nor will I. I also recall a phone call I received last year from the the pope's ambassador to the United States stating Pope Benedict wished to appoint me bishop of Steubenville. It was a phone call that made Steubenville my home," related Monforton.
"Here on March 11, 2013, we have an announcement of hope. We are called to the hope that we are called to God above. We are called to Jesus' ministry, hope and salvation. We always know there is always hope," said Monforton.
The Rev. Richard Davis, TOR, of the Franciscan University of Steubenville recalled when he learned he was assigned to the university in Steubenville.
"I arrived in Steubenville and learned I wasn't just a part of a religious community. I was going to be part of a university and part of a valley. And I found myself a home in Steubenville. The Holy Spirit was the moving spirit here tonight," Davis said.
"Sometimes we get off track, we lose our way. But we find our direction is to be in our Father's house. We have to remember we are part of the Ohio Valley, we are part of Jefferson County, we are part of Steubenville and we are part of Christ's life," Davis noted.
"It is good to be in the house of the Lord," stated the Rev. Ashley Steele of Urban Mission Ministries. But it is also good to walk out those doors tonight and to enter a world that knows God is good. Tonight is a time to see God and to know God," Steele said.
"I am a simple person, and I like simple answers. As I look at our city, our county, our state and country I see problems and I ask what I can do. But I say the answer will not come from me. I will follow God's plan," stated Pastor Gary Hallberg of Word of Life Fellowship in Steubenville.
Faith in the Future President Tracy McManamon said the prayer service "exceeded all of my expectations."
"Everyone was so spot on tonight and I was so impressed with people who joined together tonight for an hour of prayer," commented McManamon.