Gowanda Ministerium invites community to join Prayer Walk
The Gowanda Ministerial Association is comprised of pastors from about 10 churches in Gowanda and the surrounding area who meet together monthly. The group’s efforts include the community Thanksgiving dinner and Good Friday service, ministry at the Gowanda Nursing Home, the Gowanda Food Pantry and providing emergency housing for one to two nights.
Pastor Vern Saile, senior pastor at Gowanda Free Methodist Church, noted, “We asked ourselves what more we could be doing as a group of pastors to support and strengthen our community better, to help people know that our churches care about the community as a whole and to promote good connections and relationships between the different churches.”
Out of those discussions came the idea for the Gowanda Area Prayer Walk, a new endeavor that the pastors hope will become a tradition. Gowanda Assembly of God Pastor Randy Pratt said one of the goals is to encourage everyone to shift from focusing inward and look outward to see areas for ministry all around them.
Saile explained, “When you live in a community and are driving around, you go past things all the time without really seeing them. When you walk, you slow down and see – both the good things happening and the needs. We want people on the prayer walk to really see what’s going on in our community.”
Both Saile and Gowanda Free Methodist Church Associate Pastor Brett Davis participated in a 2011 short-term missions trip to Peru, where Gowanda native J.R. Crouse and his family serve as missionaries. Davis commented, “The Free Methodist Church there does a prayer walk in their community every Tuesday evening. Going with them inspired us that we could do that here.”
When summer arrived, Davis arranged similar prayer walks through Gowanda with teams of young people from his church. “As we were walking through neighborhoods praying, we also had the opportunity to speak with people one-on-one and pray with some of them for their needs. We hope that will happen with this prayer walk as well,” Davis said.
Pratt added, “Our emphasis is on coming together, humbling ourselves and inviting a move of God in our community to bring healing, restoration and salvation.”
Saile stated, “Our vision is that this would not just be a one-time thing, but that people would continue to pray, be more aware of needs, and follow up on how to meet the needs. It’s not just about praying, but asking, ‘How does God want to use me?’ We believe that inviting God to be at work in our community and to work through his people produces results.”
All who wish to participate in the Gowanda Area Prayer Walk are asked to meet at 1 p.m., Aug. 12, in the free parking lot behind Jesse’s Toy Box, where they will receive complimentary event T-shirts and maps of the village. Participants will be divided into teams and dispersed in different directions to pray. The entire group will meet back in the parking lot, and the event will close at 3 p.m.
Transportation will be made available for those who would like to participate but are not able to walk very far. Another option being offered is to bring a chair and remain at the parking lot to pray with a group there.
For further information, call the Gowanda Free Methodist Church at 532-5441 or contact a Gowanda Ministerial Association member.