Prayer can solve all things. Vince Stigliano so strongly believes that statement that for nearly two years, he and volunteers with the Pastors and Community Prayer Movement have been working to establish a 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week prayer room in Warren.
On Tuesday, their prayers and hard work were rewarded with the grand opening of The Community Prayer Room, 279 W. Market St., where people can stop in to pray on any issue.
"People can come here to pray for the community, for our political leaders, our schools, our churches or anything they believe can use God's blessings," Stigliano said.
Teresa Bryand and Tina Ann Jones, both of Niles, pray with Rick Rinko on Tuesday during the grand opening of The Community Prayer Room, 279 W. Market St., Warren. Opening a 24/7 room for prayer was the vision of Vince and Cheryl Stigliano of the Niles Christian Assembly Church and volunteers with Pastors and Community Prayer Movement.
Stigliano is a member of Niles Christian Assembly Church.
The idea of having a prayer room in Warren came to Stigliano and his wife, Cheryl, while they were in Wilmington in September 2011. Wilmington and Clinton county had recently lost approximately 3,000 of the 8,000 jobs lost when DHL closed its shipping hub in the U.S.
"Wilmington had a population of less than 20,000 people, so losing that many jobs was devastating," Stigliano said.
Because of the company's closing of the hub, the need for community services in Wilmington grew by three to four times, he said.
"By our second day down there, we realized this was a spiritual trip and we could bring a prayer room similar to one we visited in Wilmington back to Warren," he said. "When we came back here, Pastor Dan Barker was talking about what was happening in Wilmington.
"That was our sign that is what we were supposed to be doing," Stigliano said.
Several months later, they met with Elaine Crane, the owner of the Reeves Apartments, which provides apartments to low-income residents. Crane, in January 2012, allowed them to renovate a street-level storefront at no cost.
Sponsored by the Trumbull County Prayer Movement, the work on the storefront was mostly done by volunteers, with some contracted services. They updated the wiring, put in new plumbing and added a toilet and kitchenette, removed carpeting and painted its interior. Crane did not charge rent until the prayer room began operating earlier this summer.
"We spent between $6,000 and $7,000 on this project," Stigliano said. "If we had to pay for all of the work that was done it easily would have cost more than twice that amount."
Barker, a pastor at Cortland Trinity Church, says the prayer room is part of a global prayer movement in which millions of Christians around the world are praying to be better servants and to receive God's grace.
"We have our share of problems in Trumbull County," Barker said. "This is a Bible-based, Christ-centered prayer room. Our goal is for our region to be saturated with prayers. The enemy is working when most pastors and church leaders are asleep.
"There are more than 500 in South Africa and more than 500 in Indonesia," he said. "I don't know how many there are in the U.S."
Pastor Everett Whiteside of Higher Praise Covenant Church emphasized that having a 24/7 prayer room is not unique.
"We believe prayer cannot only revive the region, but also transform it," Whiteside said.
Whiteside described a group of church leaders that have been meeting together, first on a monthly, and more recently on a weekly basis, to pray together and talk about they can work together to bring about positive change in the community.
Mayor Doug Franklin, Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda and Assistant Superintendent Steve Chiaro attended the grand opening ceremonies.
While the program's goal is to be 24/7, it is not expected to reach that level of service until they get enough volunteers to keep the doors open.
"It will not be open unless we are able to have someone in the building," Stigliano said.