31 August 2020 | About 80 Adventists gathered in Kenosha, Wisconsin to pray on Saturday. They met at Library Park in the center of town to pray and then spread out to assist with local cleanup efforts.
Kenosha, Wisconsin, has been the scene of widespread protests after the August 23 shooting of an African American man, Jacob Blake, by police. Blake was paralyzed after being shot repeatedly in the back.
“This is an opportunity for us to come and be there for a community that’s hurting,” said Racine, Wisconsin, resident Zack Payne, as quoted by Madison.com.
Payne is head network pastor for Wisconsin Southeastern Network Seventh-day Adventist churches in Kenosha, Racine and Raymond.
“We want to be a light. We want to be a positive presence and able to help,” said Payne.
He added that the Adventists “wanted to come together and show some unity in Christ so we can unify with our community and help. It’s a display of unity that we’re all able to come together and accomplish something — we’re here and we care.”
Members from local Adventist churches and others from southeastern Wisconsin in the Milwaukee, Waukesha and Beaver Dam areas participated alongside representatives from the Wisconsin Conference and Lake Union Conference.
George Andrews III, local pastor at Kenosha Seventh-day Adventist Church, spoke at the gathering:
“God said he would send the Comforter, but God also uses His people to comfort,” said Andrews. “That’s why we’re here today … Keep your heart and your mind on Jesus Christ … God provides us with a source of comfort, strength, encouragement and peace. So if you need any of those, like I do, let’s pray and ask God for it.”
Wisconsin Conference Youth Coordinator, Eric Chavez of Beaver Dam, ended the closing prayer with a short reflection.
“The devil is working very, very hard to make us lose heart,” Chavez said. “We know that God is victorious. Let us not lose heart.”
In his closing prayer, Chavez added: “We are thankful that we have the ability to come out today and serve … in this town, and may everyone begin to seek peace and to seek You.”
After prayer, volunteers helped clean up the community and prayed with small business owners that had felt the force of rioting, looting and arson fires.