By Riley Manning
TUPELO – In the crisp breeze of Thursday afternoon, a crowd of around 30 assembled on the grass of Fairpark to hear psalms and prayers of God’s faithfulness from local pastors.
“We take confidence and hope that you are always with us,” began the Rev. Rick Brooks, pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church, in his opening prayer.
The Rev. Will Rambo, teaching pastor at the Orchard, said the 45-minute service was based around the ideas of adoration, confession, supplication and thanksgiving and was held to uplift Tupelo and its residents while dealing with effects from the April 28 EF-3 tornado that hit the region.
“I will sing my praise to my God as long as I live,” he said, reading from Psalm 146. “Blessed he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God… who remains faithful forever.”
Prayers and scripture readings also came from the Revs. Tim Brown of East Heights Baptist Church, Lynn Mote of the First United Methodist Church, Will Rogers of Christ the King Lutheran Church, Bill Bradford of Lawndale Presbyterian Church, Carson Overstreet of First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln Dall of St. James Catholic Church, and Landon Dowden of the Church at Trace Crossing.
“We are thankful,” said Rogers in his prayer, “that you poured our your unifying spirit, and we give praise for every person who has come forth to help in this time of need.”
Dall gave thanks for the comfort that comes with the knowledge that there are so many out there with Tupelo in their prayers.
“It’s amazing how far we’ve come in two weeks,” Dall said after the service. “We’re still kind of overwhelmed, but we’re moving forward in hope.”
Bradford said the moment was meant to contrast the hustle and bustle of the past two weeks, and serve as a time out for pastors as well as attendees.
“Some churches were affected by the storm, others have been going nonstop in helping clear and rebuild,” he said. “It’s good to take a time out and come together for a time of fellowship.”
To close out the prayer time, Brooks and Rogers sang a duet of the hymn “What a Fellowship, What a Joy Divine.”
“When you think of Tupelo, you think of the strength of community,” he said. “It’s fitting to gather in a public place. Working through the scripture in preparation for this, I found even myself being renewed.”