Chester residents pray for peace during the National Day of Prayer held last Thursday at Memorial Park.

Chester residents pray for peace during the National Day of Prayer held last Thursday at Memorial Park.

Chester clergy, city and county officials, and more than 200 residents gathered last Thursday at Memorial Park to participate in the National Day of Prayer.

Hosted by the Ministerial Fellowship of Chester and Vicinity, the evening program was organized by Rev. Rosetta Daniels of Calvary Baptist Church with assistance from area clergy.

Jack WhelanChester Mayor John Linder had arrived from walking the city’s streets with Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan and a host of detectives and other personnel.

“Our city has been in turmoil,” said Linder. “We want to go where the people are and hope they hear us…It’s important to know that we need to accept help from everyone. We cannot be choosy when trying to help the people of Chester.”

Linder asked the audience if they were drowning and two hands reached out to help, one white and one Black, which one would they choose. In unison, the response was, “both.”

Whelan said Chester is an integral part of the county and county officials are not giving up on the city. He said there is nothing more important than prayer because the first person who we turn to in times of trouble is God.

“Delaware County needs the City of Chester,” Whelan said. “I know people who are here tonight want change. The violence in this city has to stop.”

Whelan announced a new initiative would begin in the city that will be “sweeping and extensive.”

“We do not need your name and phone number,” Whelan said. “You can report things anonymously. We need to come together to make the changes effective and real.”

Deborah BaezOther speakers included Rev. Joel McGee, pastor, Providence Baptist Church; Evangelist Thelma Greene, Calvary Baptist Church; Elder Gregory Freeman, St. Marks CC Church; Apostle Don Warren, pastor, Everlasting Life Ministries; Rev. Thaddeus Kirkland, pastor, Community Baptist Church; Rev. Belinda Boyer, pastor, Mt. Hebron A.M.E. Church; Rev. Leonard Carroll, director of Chester City Police Chaplains Corps; Deborah Baez, Divine Covenant; Rev. Hilda Campbell; Rev. Dr. Judy Gaskin; Bishop Anthony Hanna, pastor, St. Mark’s Christian Community Church; and the National Day of Prayer Community Choir.

The National Day of Prayer was signed into law in 1952 by President Harry Truman. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan amended the law, designating the first Thursday in May as the National Day of Prayer.

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