In a time when Pastor Isaac Hudson proclaimed that we are “living in a new reality where lies are now known as alternative facts,” more than 150 city leaders and ministers from churches throughout the community gathered in Phenix City Thursday morning for Mayor Eddie Lowe’s annual unity prayer breakfast.
“We live here, we love here, we work here, we share here and we give our best here,” said Hudson, pastor of Nichols Chapel AME Church.
Hudson set the tone for the event by calling Phenix City a “city of inclusion,” but did not back away from the national and local political divide.
“We build bridges, not walls,” Hudson said.
Lowe turned to Philippians 2:1-5 to make his point about unity and working to assist others.
“Therefore, if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion; then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind,” Lowe said, reading for his Bible. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.”
Lowe than turned from the scripture reading and made his point.
“Life is not just about you,” the mayor said. “It is about what you can do for others.”
While Lowe and Hudson set the tone for the pre-work breakfast at the Martin-Idle Hour Park Community Center, the Rev. Amy Person Parkes, a Hurtsboro, Ala., native and pastor of St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla., brought the message.
She used the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples on the night before his crucifixion. She called for unity, “when so many in our world work to pit us against one another.”
“I believe in the unity we seek and the root of that unity is love,” Person Parkes said. “... The seeds of that unity take root when we offer ourselves in relationships in home and community; when we serve and not seek to be served.”