Franklin Day of Prayer

Published 11:42 am Saturday, April 7, 2018

“Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together.”  — Jacqueline Woodson

by Charles Qualls

Before you finish reading this column, I am going to have told you something you truly won’t believe. Remember, you will be surprised. But, first let me tell you about a promise I have made.

My promise is hard to keep, but over time I am trying. I told our congregation this a time or two early in my first year. That is, I would rarely say to them that I needed them to make every effort to be a part of anything. If I did, I promised them it would be worth it. I generally trust adults to find their own motivation and to make the best decisions they can.

This event is different. It’s one of the exceptions in my promise.

What is so important? The Franklin Day of Prayer at roughly 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. The location is Armory Field and it’ll cost you nothing except your time and effort. Paul D. Camp Community College has been gracious to a group of we local clergy, black and white. Gracious enough to let us hold this event between games of the baseball double-header that day.

I’m asking all our people, and I’m asking you, to make this a priority. I am calling on each of you to please put this on your calendar and come out in force. Black and white. Young and old. Men and women.

Our community could so benefit from us finding each other out at Armory Field that day, and locking hands and arms together out of an abiding love for our city of Franklin. The whole city. Every person, every issue, every challenge and opportunity needs our prayer.

We need each other, too. That may be as great a benefit as the prayer itself.

So, what are you not going to believe?

This event is organized by local clergy and none of us are going to preach. Nary a one of us. None of us will utter a prayer, either. All the prayers for our community’s peace, education, unity and leaders will be offered by teens and adults who live here.

Pastor Anthony Rawlings of Celebration Church will emcee that day. Frank Rabil will be one who is lifting a prayer. One of our promising young African-American men, Ellis “Trey” Cofield III will offer a prayer. These are but two examples.

“Diversity is the art of independently thinking together.” That’s what Malcolm Forbes once observed.  Admittedly, we aren’t all so alike on many things. There’s no need in pretending that we are. Still in our diversity we can join together and find unity.

There is a lot at stake here. Our city and our families, our churches and businesses can’t find a new day to live in until we do something new. But, we’ll need you and anyone you can bring with you in order to be complete.

We could teach each other a lot about humanity, too. Writer Maya Angelou said, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” Ms. Angelou once autographed a book to me, and in that she wished me “joy!”

A successful event like this would bring me a lot of joy on April 14.

I can’t imagine that anyone could come out to an event like this and not make a new friend. I can’t imagine that anyone could be there that day and not come away encouraged somehow. I can’t imagine that anyone could be against gathering to set aside our differences for one day and praying together.

We just might emerge better. I hope to see you there.

CHARLES QUALLS is senior pastor at Franklin Baptist Church. Contact him at 562-5135.