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Praying for Racial Reconciliation

A recent prayer and praise service at the Mason-Dixon Line marker greatly impacted congregants of this Williamstown, New Jersey, church.
When middle school science teacher Stacey N. Williams signed up to go on Life Church’s June 14 trip to the Mason-Dixon Line, she had no idea the outing would prove to be life changing.

“It was powerful and history making,” says the 47-year-old Williams, whose multiple roles at the Williamstown, New Jersey, church include serving on the intercessory prayer team. “What we did felt like a mission trip.”

Located about 70 miles from Williamstown — a suburb of Philadelphia — a historical marker denoting the line sits in the middle of a 2,000-acre nature preserve where Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware converge. Surveyors Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed their work between 1763 and 1767 to resolve a boundary dispute among the states.

The prayer and praise service at the site was an outgrowth of the church’s 4-year-old Life House of Prayer initiative, with 23 members making the trek. Near the end of the service, lead pastor Jamie P. Morgan, 55, anointed the marker with oil before praying for racial reconciliation in the nation.

A May doctoral graduate of Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, Morgan announced the trip this spring to her multiracial congregation of about 180.

She indicated God had laid on her heart the importance of praying on site when it concerns key issues like racial reconciliation and revival.

Her Facebook post about the visit and a YouTube recording of the prayer service both are available online.

During her research prior to the trip, Morgan learned the names of the two surveyors weren’t even on the original report. Yet because it came to represent the nation’s division over slavery, the line took on powerful symbolism, she notes.

Not only was this boundary later cited in Congress during congressional debates that led to the Missouri Compromise of 1820, Morgan says reaching the line became the overarching goal of runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.

“We prayed at the Mason Dixon Line because it represents division between North and South, and freedom and slavery,” says Morgan, a member of the AG Prayer Committee. “We wanted to repent for national and individual sin, slavery, and prejudice, and pray for racial unity in our nation and the Church.”

Morgan, who has served all 12 of her years as a senior pastor at Life Church, hopes God will use the congregation’s prayer service as a prototype for other AG churches seeking racial reconciliation.

In addition to stopping at the Mason-Dixon Line, later that day the group traveled to a noteworthy historical revival site in Newark, Delaware. There, pastor Chris Dito of Parkview Assembly talked about the role legendary British pastor George Whitefield played in the First Great Awakening.

“Standing on the spot where Whitefield’s pulpit once rested, the members of Life Church prayed for God to revive our nation again,” Morgan says of the day’s concluding event.

Building on the momentum of their first trip, on Aug. 31 church adherents will make a 45-minute journey south to a revival site in Fairton, New Jersey, another place where Whitefield prayed during the First Great Awakening.

In its “Redigging the Wells of Revival” observance, Life Church plans to do a bicoastal prayer meeting Aug. 31 with a Pentecostal congregation in Los Angeles, where members will pray simultaneously at the site of the early 1900s Azusa Street Revival.

Williams plans to join the event.

“We’re all one and are united because of our Heavenly Father,” the African-American teacher says. “Male, female, or color doesn’t matter. If those chains from the past are broken, you can move forward.”

Kenneth C. Walker

Kenneth C. Walker is a freelance writer, co-author, and book editor from Huntington, West Virginia. He has more than 4,500 article bylines and has written, edited, or contributed to more than 90 books.