By Linda Linonis
Pastor Kathie Thomas asked people to embrace the idea of a revival with a positive outlook.
YOUNGSTOWN — Pastor Kathie Thomas left praying to her fellow speakers at the midday National Day of Prayer observance on Central Square downtown.
The keynote speaker, a senior pastor at Victory Christian Center in Coitsville, said she wanted to utter a prophecy.
With a backdrop of the sun shining, a breeze blowing, sounds of the city punctuating the emotion of speakers and some participants swirling “prayer banners,” the City Prayer Team of Youngstown sponsored the afternoon observance that attracted about 250 people. Linda Daniels of the prayer team coordinated events with other team members.
“We’re living in a time like no other,” Pastor Thomas said. “I love this city. I’m passionately in love with the Mahoning Valley.”
She referred to passages in Ezekiel 37:1-11 about dry bones in a valley. “Lord, you gave me a vision ... of the Valley coming to life.” She continued that her vision included people of all ages and diverse backgrounds coming to the Valley.
Pastor Thomas said there is a “turning of atmosphere” and a “spirit of prosperity in Youngstown.”
She cited Proverbs 18:21, which says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”
The pastor urged people on this day, May 7, 2009, to get into the “mind-set of prosperity.” “Speak about life,” she urged, “and tone down the negative.”
“Change the climate of a city and change the culture,” Pastor Thomas said. “The culture of the kingdom of God means things will flourish because of love, joy and the spirit of God.”
The speaker urged everyone to embrace the idea of revival with a positive outlook and a “city with heart after God.”
Also speaking was Mayor Jay Williams. The mayor said before the United States was a nation, the pilgrims relied on prayer and the Founding Fathers recognized the gifts of God in America. “The need for prayer is great ... to help heal broken homes,” he said. “Prayer isn’t a spectator sport.”
Sandi Palmer, associate pastor of the Place Where the Lord Provides, was there with a group wearing prayer shawls and using shofars (ram’s horns), to punctuate the speeches. “This is a great opportunity for prayer,” she said.
The Rev. Guy BonGiovanni, president of Life Enrichment Ministries Inc. in Canfield, attended with this wife, Esther. He said it was important “to support this prayer effort.” And, he noted, the presence and talk by Williams was a “subtle motivation.”
At the evening observance, about 200 attended the youth extravaganza at Trinity United Methodist Church, 30 W. Front St.
The event featured music, worship, testimonies and Christian rap. Attending from the youth group at Tabernacle Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Austintown were Drew Swecker, 16, and Zac Campbell, 17. “It’s fun to do God stuff,” he said. “And I wanted to be with other Christians who know praising God is important,” Drew said.
“I wanted to go to another church and see how people are involved,” Zac said. “This isn’t what I expected. I thought it might be just sitting down. ... But this is good. People understand what praising God is about.”
Raymer L. Jones Sr. of Youngstown, 37, brought his 7-year-old twins and 4-year-old. “I’m saved, and I want to worship God as much as I can,” he said, adding he wanted to have his children participate.
Krysta Walter, 19, a Master’s Commission student of Assembly of God Bible College at Victory Christian, was there to help lead musical worship. “I wanted to come to pray for the city,” she said.