WARREN - The message the Rev. Joseph Walker offered Sunday night at the Greater Apostolic Faith Church was one of endurance.
Walker, the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Worship Celebration, reminded the hundreds of people gathered at the service that "when you make the decision to stand, you must be willing to endure the battles that come ... If you want to be a good soldier you're going to have to endure."
The program, "Witnessing the Dream," was sponsored by the Trumbull County Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance. Walker, pastor at Restoration Christian Fellowship in Warren, cited events that have struck the Warren community including shootings, fatal fires and tragic deaths of local young people.
"With all that we have faced, all that we have gone through, if you look back, we're still standing," exclaimed Walker.
The program was among several area events held during the past few days in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The service included Scripture readings, prayer, the reading of the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," songs performed by the TCIMA Choir and an excerpt from King's "I Have A Dream" speech.
Walker told the people that the church of Jesus Christ is the only institution that can help them overcome. He said there is a unity being birthed, a community coming together.
Rose Hurt of Warren prays during the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Worship Celebration on Sunday. With her are, from left, Ben Hurt, 4, Aniyah Daniels, 1, whom she is holding, and Saria Hurt, 11. Photo by Virginia Shank
"Even in the midst of tragedy, the God we serve is able," Walker said. "When you look at all we've been through, with all that we've faced, we're still standing."
He said many of the situations the community has had to face have the potential to "take us out."
However in the midst of it, people including the youth have "prayed a little bit more," he added.
"How is it that we're able to stand at such a time as this?" he asked as the people stood in agreement.
"If God allows you to go through something, the same God that saw you get there is the same God that will bring you up out of there," he said.