4,000 People Attend
the United Pastors In Mission's Youth and Family Unity Rally
by Patricia Mitchell
"In two years, it will be the 21st century. All over the world, people
are planning their transition into the next century and many are asking,
"How is the Church going to enter into the next Millennium?" We want
the Body of Christ to come together in unity," states Reverend Dr.
Larry Macon. He is the President of the United Pastors in Missions and
the Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Oakwood Village. The United Pastors
in Mission is an organization that represents more than 80 pastors and
churches, with a combined membership of over 50,000 individuals
In response to the vision and the call to unity, the United Pastors
in Mission sponsored a "Youth and Family Unity Rally" on September 20th
at the Bedford High School Stadium in Bedford, Ohio. With a theme of "Bridging
The Gap" the rally was endorsed by the Mayors of Bedford, Oakwood
Village, Bedford Heights, Maple Heights and Walton Hills Village. It was
also supported by the Christian Leadership Alliance, Mission Cleveland,
the Promise Keepers and P.T. & Associates. The rally drew a large,
well-diverse audience of more than 4,000 young people, senior citizens,
children, men and women, blacks and whites
Rev. Macon declared that the United Pastors in Mission "believes
that the Body of Christ is broader than any denomination. When it comes
to moral issues, it should not be just one denomination or platform.
I think that God has His hand on the city of Cleveland in a very unusual
kind of way." He continued, "There is a spiritual revival and reconciliation
as Christians. People are tired of the division of the churches, races,
economics and opportunities." Rev. Macon assured that the rally was
one opportunity, in a series of long -term events that the United Pastors
in Mission will sponsor to share the love of Christ and promote unity in
the Greater Cleveland area.
At the rally, greeters and ushers were amply stationed throughout the
stadium, along with security. Highly organized, alert and friendly, the
ushers provided directions, seating arrangements and programs.
Promptly at 7 pm, Jay the Gospel Kidd, a Christian radio personality
on 104.9 FM, welcomed the audience with a wake-up call of several loud
Hallelujah's. The audience responded with joy as they stomped their feet,
sounding like thunder, in the bleachers. The rally continued with a steady
flow of activity until 10 pm.
The majority of the background music was provided by WZAK Youth Choir
Band. Poetry was presented by the poet artist, "The Boogyman." His
rhythmic poetry won him first place in a contest at the Apollo Theater.
He flowed like Gil Scott Herron as he excited the audience with his poem,
"Mr. Miracle Tongue Twister." Eighteen youths came together from
different churches with Leonard Burke, the Youth Director at Providence
Baptist Church, to minister as "The Unity Dancers.? They stepped-danced
to the up-tempo beat of "I Still Believe."
The United Pastors Mass Choir was 300 voices strong as they sang various
gospel selections, including "Lord, You Are the Strength of My Life."
Dressed in all black, the WZAK Youth Choir marched onto the field escorted
by chaperons dressed like "The Men in Black." The choir sang several
inspirational songs including, "To Dream the Impossible Dream."
Generous amount of materials was available to the public for free. Anna
M. Brown, Director of the Evangelistic team at Open Door Missionary Baptist
Church, was well prepared at the "good news" table with a variety of Christian
tracts and booklets. The Promise Keepers' table had complimentary tapes,
with exerts from previous Promise Keepers' Conventions.
Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist
Church, led the audience in reciting Psalms 19:14. He ministered that the
children who do better in school, are normally the children who attend
and participate in church. He acknowledged, "Not only do our children need
reading, writing and arithmetic, but reverence, respect and responsibility.
We need the Lord."
A memorable highlight during the program was when the audience stood
and sang, "Break Dividing Walls" by David Ruis. Clouds had been threatening
rain throughout the evening. Yet only once, as the theme song was sang,
did raindrops fall. Kinsella Reaves, a guest speaker from Mt. Zion Baptist
Church, alluded that the timing of the rain was more than just a coincidence,
she said, "God was anointing and blessing this afternoon, and with God,
all things are possible."
Kelvonna Warner, a senior at Regina High School was invited to the rally
by her mother. "She told me about the rally because her friend was singing
in the Mass Choir," Kelvonna said. "I had fun and I was proud that there
were so many youth."
Enduring the colder temperatures as the night progressed, Kelvonna was
particularly impressed with the message from Rev. Marvin A. McMickle, Pastor
of Antioch Baptist Church and Board Chairman for United Pastors in Mission.
"He was reaching out to the youth to put God first. He had a deep message
that should have been closer in the beginning of the program because people
had started to leave," she commented. The colder temperatures dwindled
the crowd to a few hundred by 9:30pm, when Rev. McMickle spoke. Nevertheless,
he delivered a powerful message about "Choices."
He shared a true story about a bright college senior and her plight
with an unwed pregnancy due to a wrong choice. In her attempt to hide her
condition, she wore a girdle throughout her pregnancy and it resulted in
her child being born with brain damage. The child's father deserted her
and she never graduated from college. Rev. McMickle preached, "Life hinges
on choices. Choices in friendship, relationship, in things we choose to
do. The choice to drink alcohol or not to drink, to use drugs or not to
use drugs, to engage in premarital sex or not, to go to school or not."
Rev. McMickle linked his message to an invitation to choose Christ as a
way of life. Many responded and came forth to receive spiritual counseling
and guidance, as the audience sang, "I Have Decided to Follow Jesus."
After the rally, Ron George, Pastor of Outreach at Mount Sinai Baptist
Church, smiled and said, "It was a spirit-filled event and it was really
good to see the unity taking place. I believe if we can have a diversified
Body of Believers to work together, we can overcome a lot of issues."
To contact the United Pastors in Mission for future events and
support, please call (216) 232-2645.