In an effort to introduce themselves and show the Homewood-Brushton community they care, The House of Manna Faith Community Church held a Prayer Walk for Peace April 2, which included approximately 300 leaders and those from various churches of different denominations, races and community groups.

UNITED—Participants at the Prayer Walk for Peace raise one finger to symbolize that they are one united community.

“We wanted to introduce ourselves to the community, give people hope and show them that we care about the community and what is going on in it,” said Dina Blackwell, mission ministry leader of House of Manna and the walk’s organizer. “I live in Homewood and the need is visually visible everyday. I was given this vision from God in January and went with it.”

The new Presbyterian church, which focuses on mission, justice and peace, was recently established by the Pittsburgh Presbytery and is led by Rev. Eugene J. Blackwell, former pastor of Bethesda Presbyterian Church.

WALK IT OUT— Community leaders and individuals from various churches, ethnicities and community groups march from the Homewood Coliseum, where the walk began, to the corner of Homewood and Frankstown avenues.

“We wanted the community and residents of Homewood to see that God’s people care and we believe in the power of prayer. We want to be proactive, instead of reactive,” Rev. Blackwell said. “We will continue to pray for the community and be visible in it.”

He said that since the walk, several people have come up to him and given him thanks and words of encouragement; and that means more than anything.

Things like that, more than any numbers, is what shows that the walk was a success.

Besides the  prayer walk, which both say will be a continued venture, the church will conduct a weekly Bible study; hold a weekly party for teens so that they have a safe place to socialize; and work with families and other groups to redevelop the community.

While some may see this as just another organization with a mission, both stressed this is not the case and that it is important to work with other organizations and that they welcome the idea. “We want to work with other groups. If the leadership is competing and cannot get along, then what are we showing our children?”

Reverend Blackwell added, “We just want to see the health and growth of the Homewood community.”

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