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.