An interdenominational, multicultural gathering of Christ followers “lifting up the unifying power of the gospel” brought hundreds of persons together for a ‘Unity in the Community’ march and rally in southwest Pensacola March 19.
The event, spearheaded by Ron Lentine, pastor of Myrtle Grove Baptist Church, drew as many as 500 persons representing nine Christian denominations and four Florida Baptist churches.
“We experienced an overwhelming sense of joy and celebration that was expressed by people representing different cultures and races, including members from Vietnamese, Filipino, Hispanic, African- American churches,” said Lentine.
The march began at Myrtle Grove United Methodist Church and concluded at Escambia High School where the rally was held in the football stadium.
“The unifying factor for all of those people groups and churches was the cross of Christ,” Lentine said. “We set aside differences denominationally and rallied around the cross and the simple gospel message.”
The Sunday night rally capped off a weekend of activities, as the Strength Team shared feats of their power at local schools and the Myrtle Grove church on Friday and Saturday nights. The team also spoke to students on Sunday afternoon at the Myrtle Grove Methodist church prior to the march, presenting a motivational challenge and leading students on the march.
Stretched out for nearly a mile, walkers of all ages hoisted up signs, proclaiming praise for God and scripture verses, while being led by a color guard and motorcycle riders. One walker carried a large wooden cross along the route.
The rally at the high school offered prayer, music and speakers representing the multiple denominations and cultures. Lentine said the focus from the very beginning was to “lift up the transforming power of the gospel that can change the human heart and truly unite people of all races and cultures into one family.”
Lentine believes grassroots neighborhood unity movements could spark a fire of revival across the nation.
“We pray that our Unity in the Community march and rally would have a rippling effect as it goes across social media causing other believers to seek to do the same in their communities.”
By Barbara Denman, Florida Baptist Convention, April 22