Pastor Doug Tweed, reflecting on the violence surrounding the country about the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, will be one of several ministers leading a prayer vigil of healing in Kingsport on Wednesday.
"We want everybody to come out — ministers and congregations from Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City and the Tri-State area — and let us lift up our voices," he said. "We need to cry out to God to help, and for him not to forsake us. We need his wisdom and his grace prayed into the leaders of this country and the many people who see the turmoil in America and are hurting right now."
Organizers of the vigil say the focus has to be on healing the country through the many voices of prayer.
Protest signs will not be allowed. Bibles will be.
"The vigil is not about protesting," says Bishop Designate Ronnie Collins of the Tennessee-Virginia Fellowship Against Racism. "The events of the past few days and weeks and years have brought us to a turning point in society. When you pray, you will see change. The ability to change the world rests in God's hand, and prayer from his people stirs that change.
"When you're dealing with hearts and minds, you gotta go to Christ," he said.
The prayer vigil will be held Wednesday in the field beside the Full Gospel Mission Church, 740 E. Sevier Ave. in Kingsport, from 6-7 p.m. It is sponsored by the Full Gospel Mission Church, the New Vision Youth and the Tennessee-Virginia Fellowship Against Racism. It will feature prayers led by local ministers, including Tweed, Collins, Minister Lisa Williamson, Evangelist Camellia White and others.
"This is a desperate time of need," said Johnnie Mae Swagerty, New Vision Youth director. "All ministers and their congregations are urged to come out. Many voices are heard as one. Prayer uplifts us. … Our situation can only be changed by guidance, and divine guidance is the only kind of guidance that ever works."
Social distancing will be observed at the vigil, and people will be asked to wear masks, as recommended by the CDC.
"Our prayerful voices can travel six feet," Collins said. "Spread the Word instead of germs. Instead of a sign, open your Bible. It will get us through these tough times. Please come out and let the Lord hear you.
"Prayer is all we've got right now," he says. "It's all we ever need. God has never failed us through prayer."
For more information about the vigil, contact Johnnie Mae Swagerty at (423) 429-7553.