Warren Chapel AME will host Worship Alive, a worship service targeting area youth, at 5 p.m. Saturday.
The people gathered for a prayer vigil at Warren Chapel AME Church on Sunday night had plenty of material: the fatal shooting of a police officer, four other homicides and more than a dozen people injured by gunfire within a month.
“We’re here to glorify God so that he can heal our city through our praise,” said Terran “T-Ran” Gilbert, a local minister of music who led the worship service.
It was the second prayer vigil of the weekend aimed at bringing an end to violence in the community. The first was Saturday at New Monumental Baptist Church.
The prayer vigil came a day after the shooting death of Sgt. James Timothy Chapin, a Chattanooga police officer of almost 27 years, and the wounding of Chattanooga police officer Lorin Johnston. The vigil was scheduled after four people died and about a dozen more were shot in March. The nonfatal shootings included a 3-year-boy who was shot in the leg.
“Someone had the audacity to say a pray vigil won’t do anything for the situation,” said the Rev. Terence L. Mayes Sr., Warren Chapel pastor.
“Oh, ye of little faith. Mamma taught me long time ago that prayer changes things,” Mayes said.
Then nearly 100 fathers, family members and friends walked to the alter and held hands. Others stood from their seats and prayed as Gilbert played “How Great Is Our God.”
Sisters and brothers are crying because there is so much blood shed in the streets, said the Rev. Archie Griffin.
“Hamilton County is losing too many kids,” Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey said. “And it’s worse than that. I don’t think they see a future. I don’t think they see hope.”
Mackey said it will take all people working together to show hope to young people.
“Someone once said God has no hands but our hands. He has no feet but our feet,” said the Rev. Ternae Jordan, pastor of Mt. Cannon Baptist Church. “Don’t go home and get in the bed and keep calling on the Lord to go where we need to go.”
The Rev. Willie Ison also spoke.
“Before we get too concerned about our city and our young people, I pray for the church,” Ison said. “Because we’re preaching a watered-down gospel, a gospel that does not demand that we walk what we talk. Lord, we can not call on our young men to walk right and we’re walking in a world of sin.”
Some in the audience clapped as Ison continued.
“Lord, give us back our city, but first give us back our church,” he said. “Give us back our cities, but first of all give us back our families. Give us back our city, but first give us back our children.”
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...