WARREN - ''This is another wake-up call. If you don't wake up now, it's going to get worse and worse,'' Elder Phillip W. Shealey said. ''We in trouble, we are in trouble.''
Shealey, pastor at Greater Apostolic Church, delivered a message Monday he admitted he knows wouldn't please all those crowded inside the northwest side church for services for 15-year-old Daylan T. Ray, one of the six teenagers from Warren killed in a March 10 traffic crash.
''God is trying to get us to understand that we're in trouble. We're in trouble as a country, we are in trouble as a city, and we're in trouble in our neighborhoods,'' Shealey said. ''Our families are in trouble because they are under attack, and God is trying to tell us that it is time for us to get our act together.
''We are in trouble because of the breakdown of the family. We are in trouble because we've stopped parenting our children. We're in trouble.
''We're in trouble because we're busy trying to be our children's friends and not their parents. ... We're in trouble because we stopped coming to church, we stopped bringing our children to church,'' Shealey said.
He urged parents to reintroduce God, and play a more prominent role in the lives of their children by providing rules, training and good examples instead of coddling them and trying to win their favor.
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
A mourner stands and raises a hand Monday during the service for Daylan T. Ray at Apostolic Faith Church as Elder Phillip W. Shealey, left background, presides. Ray was one of six teens killed in a March 10 automobile accident.
''It's better to be frustrated working with them to correct the problem than to look at caskets week after week after week after week,'' Shealey said.
''Parents, I want you to understand these kids are looking for help. The problem is we get busy trying to get our groove back instead of investing our future. Yes, we would love to see doctors, lawyers and engineers, but if we don't correct what is going on, it's not going to happen,'' Shealey said.
Ray's funeral was among three Monday for victims of the crash. Other services were held at Triedstone Baptist Church for Andrique L. Bennett, 14, and at Grace AME Church for Brandon A. Murray, 14.
The funeral for 15-year-old Kirklan Behner was Friday at North-Mar Church, and the services for Alexis Cayson, 19, were Saturday at Greater Apostolic. The service for Ramone M. White, 15, is noon today at New Freedom Missionary Baptist Church.
The crash that killed six and injured two more happened on Niles Warren River Road, an extension of Pine Avenue S.E. Police investigating say Cayson was the driver of the overcrowded SUV when it crashed and landed on its roof in a swampy pond. Injured were Brian K. Henry, 18, and Asher C. Lewis, 15. All are from Warren.
Pastor Todd Johnson of Agape Assembly Church directed his comments right at the youth, and asked them to honor Ray and the other five teens killed by not selling short their own potential or dreams.
He also asked young people to pick up the promise lost and celebrate their achievements with Ray.
''He didn't make it across the stage, but I'm going to make it across that stage. He didn't have a chance to see college, so I'm going to make sure I see college for him, and when I get there, I'm going to take his picture with me and I'm going to tell Daylan we both made it college,'' Johnson said. ''He may not have made it to marriage, but I'm going to make it to marriage for him.
''Achieve something, reach a little bit higher, strive a little bit harder and carry the promise of his young life as far as you can take it,'' Johnson said. ''If somebody tells you the sky is the limit, tell them that is a lie, even the sky is not your limit.''