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Longview prayer rally focuses on giving thanks

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Nov. 15, 2012 at 10 p.m.


Clergy members from a variety of denominations gathered on the lawn of the Gregg County Courthouse at noon Thursday to offer prayers of thanksgiving. The Rev. Tim Watson, president of the Longview Clergy Coalition, said he enjoyed the event but had hoped for more participation. About 60 people attended.

"We probably needed to do a better job of promoting this prayer rally and encouraging members of our churches to attend," Watson said. "It was meaningful to me, as I believe it was to the other clergy members here, but it was designed to be a community event."

He expressed gratitude to Gregg County officials for their cooperation with the event, which was being conducted for the second year.

"We're thankful for the right to assemble in public places to join together in prayer," Watson said. "That's a right that we have throughout this country, but in some places, there's a lot more pushback from government officials when events like this are planned."

The rally was planned for the week before Thanksgiving to place it before the more hectic holiday season.

"This is an opportunity for us to slow down and thank God for our blessings," Watson said.

Participating clergy members were: the Rev. Gavin Vaverek, St. Mary's Catholic Church; Dr. Don Knoop, Pray Longview; the Rev. Virginia Wall, Wesley-McCabe Methodist Church; the Rev. Wayne Mays, Post Oak CME Church; the Rev. Jennene Laurinec, Newgate Mission; and the Rev. Beau Sullivan, Holy Trinity Community Church. Watson is a former pastor of First Baptist Church and is now on the staff of LeTourneau University. Also participating was Deborah Gilbert, who led participants in song.

Wall said she appreciated the opportunity to gather with other clergy members and offer public praise.

"Every time we have a chance to come together as a community, and offer praise to God across racial and denominational lines, it's a good thing."

Vaverek said that one of the main purposes of the rally was to remind people to be thankful for God's gifts of life, love and mercy.

"It's great that such a diverse group of clergy members can come together and pray in order to remind people of the wonderful blessings we experience every day in this community and country," Vaverek said.

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