By Amanda Boston

On Sunday, November 19, more than fifteen area churches converged at the LifePoint Church in Tampa for the third ‘Church and Community United’ service. Spearheaded by Rep. Ross Spano, Pastor A.D. Shaw and Dr. Stephen Rummage, the evening centered on the church acting as the conduit to promote peace and unity to a country divided.

Pastor Shaw, the senior pastor of Shekinah Glory Cathedral, explained, “Over the last couple of years, our nation experienced a great deal of disparity and racially motivated violence that created grave tension in our communities.”

To a racially diverse crowd, pastors throughout the Tampa Bay area prayed and discussed how the church should respond to the hot-button issues facing the nation. Two major issues presented included the NFL players taking a knee and the racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The resolution was clear—the pathway to peace and unity begins with prayer.
Pastor Shaw concluded, “Prayer is color-blind, it unites regardless of ethnicity, social-economic status and political affiliation. We don’t have to see eye to eye to walk hand in hand. ”

Pastors also spoke on the necessity of teaching unity within the home and church. Dr. Stephen Rummage, the senior pastor at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, pointed to following Jesus as the path to unity.

“This third United service shows that, for Bible-believing pastors and churches in Tampa Bay, the gospel of Jesus Christ does bring us together and overcome differences,” said Dr. Rummage. “Any time people are authentically following Jesus, God creates unity.”
Emphasizing a grassroots approach, Rep. Spano from the Florida House of Representatives said, “Until we are able to unite our differences within the church, we cannot expect to make a difference in the broader community.”

Rep. Spano continued, “It is our goal as pastors, politicians, and public leaders to have the Tampa Bay area be a national leader in uniting our communities as one.”
More ‘United’ events are planned throughout the year with a block party scheduled in April. The block party will offer families the opportunity to learn more about the various agencies and resources available in the community.

If you would like to get involved or be added to the mailing list, please contact the office of Rep. Spano via email at Pamila.briest@myfloridahouse.gov or via phone 744-6256.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.