By Dan McNiel, reprinted courtesy of the Herald-Advocate
Various council members, elected officials, religious and community members joined together Monday May 18 to pray for the community.
Three prayer vigils were held at Marlboro Court Apartments, near Evergreen Cemetery on Hudson Street and near Eastside Grocery. They were held in areas where shootings had taken place in recent weeks.
Spearheaded by Bennettsville Police Chief Kevin Miller and Sword of Truth Pastor Bishop R. Chris Brown, the prayers and words of encouragement were broadcast to citizens with a sound system. Brown said they wanted to do something to show the faith community, law enforcement and the community as a whole were working together to make sure the community knew they cared.
“We want to at least be a positive showing of the negative that has been going,” he said.
Brown added they are planning a county day of prayer at the Marlboro Courthouse. In addition to Brown praying, other pastors included the Revs. Debra Armstrong of Christ United Methodist Church, Judith Knox of Trinity United Methodist Church, and Mark Johnston of First United Methodist Church, all of Bennettsville.
Miller said he believed in the power of prayer and believed when you get community leaders together, great things could be accomplished.
“We are a community and we need to stand together,” he said. “This is not politically driven. This is people standing up for the community they serve and love.”
Miller added the police could not do it alone but needed concerted effort from everyone in the city to make a real positive impact.
Marlsboro Schools Superintendent Dr. Gregory McCord spoke at the Marlboro Court Apartment vigil.
“You never know what can come out of a neighborhood until you put something into a neighborhood just like we are doing now,” he said.
McCord urged those attending and listening to not let this be a one-time gathering.
“Now and then we need to come out and invest some time in these types of communities,” he said. “You never know what is going to come from these. You never know who is going to be the next chief of police, the next state representative, or the next superintendent. There are promises in these projects. It is our job and responsibility to help make sure they are kept.”
On Hudson Street, Brown emphasized how they believed in the power of prayer.
“We believe in our community and the people in the community. The pandemic will not cause pandemonium.”