Tennessee Jurisdictional Bishop David Allen Hall in the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) calls the church “the last great hope” to address the violent mass shootings erupting across the country. And, he’s ready for the church to take action.
“I’m calling for a movement of public saints,” Hall said Thursday. “Public saints come out and make a stand against what is going on. We are calling for people of faith to join us in a season of fasting and prayer, beginning Monday, September 9th through Friday, September 13th. Along with this period of fasting and prayer, we are asking all people of faith who will to call our elected officials in Nashville.”
The announcement was made at Hall’s South Memphis Church, Temple COGIC, where a similar meeting of local ministers took place several weeks ago. Hall told media outlets at the initial meeting that he and other ministers would be praying about a plan of action to halt the use of assault weapons in mass shootings.
The “Public Saints Movement,” as it is being called, asks participants to fast the designated five days for 12 consecutive hours each day. Pastors standing with Hall will also encourage congregants to contact elected officials with phone calls, emails, and letters.
A statement was released to pastors of what the conversation should be during these contacts:
Hello. My name is ________________________________
I am calling today to register my concern and give you my support in eliminating weapons of war in our society. As a member of the Church I want you to know my spiritual action can impact the crisis of mass killings and racial hatred. I am one of thousands who will fast, pray, and support our elected officials that campaign to bring an end to the possession and use of weapons like AR -15 and AK 47 in the communities of Tennessee. Let me know what I can do to assist you in this effort.
“My hope is that enough of our people will stand together and say to our elected officials that we stand ready to help you in any way that we can,” said Hall. “We preach about God parting the Red Sea, and David slaying the giant, Goliath, and even, the sun standing still. It’s going to take a miracle, and we believe in miracles. Also, we believe in the power of prayer. We know that God will answer. We are launching a Public Saint Revival. We are stepping into the public arena because I believe we are the last hope for stopping this mass shooting epidemic.”
Pastor Leonard Dawson of Cane Creek Baptist Church concurs, calling this public saints movement very important in “this very critical hour.”
“We as the faith community are going to God about what is going on,” he said. “Along with our prayer and fasting, we are going to reach out to Republicans and ask them to come down on the sell of assault weapons. These are weapons of war, and we know the NRA and its money mainly support Republicans. We will be calling and emailing Republicans to ask them to do the right thing.”
Mt. Vernon Baptist Church-Westwood Pastor Melvin Watkins also feels that a corporate call to fasting and prayer will make a difference.
“People are dying — children, students, young people — victims of all ages have been killed,” said Watkins. “We will be praying, but then we’ve got to do more than pray. We must call our elected officials and insist that there be better gun control laws passed. We want to compel them to do what they are supposed to do in representing us. This is a spiritual problem, and we are going to resolve it with spiritual power.”
Hall called the killing “politically inspired and racially motivated.” His call to action also “invites clergy across ecumenical lines, Christians of all reformations” to join the prayer and fasting next week, as well as “people of non-Christian faith.” He called it “a time to pray and assert a spiritual call to righteousness.”
Hall stressed support for keeping AR15s and AK47s out of the hands of private citizens.
“This is not an attack on 2nd-Amendment rights,” said Hall. The 2nd Amendment had to do with militias. It is not justification for people to be walking around in Walmart or K-Mart with rifles and assault weapons on their shoulder. This was not the intent.
“But I believe in the spiritual power of our prayer and fasting before God,” he said. “This movement is a spiritual movement. Dr. King’s movement was spiritual. I believe if we stand together and speak with one voice, the power of God will be with us because human institutions and conventions of law have no remedy for what occurred in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio, and Odessa, Texas. Only the Lord can help us.”
(For more information on this topic, please call Bishop David Allen Hall at 901-351-0903, or email: [email protected])