Thursday, March 30th, 2017
Church members to pray at courthouse
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Pastor Randy Christian and The Lord's Church members will gather in front of the Mercer County Courthouse for a few hours each Monday morning to offer prayer to anyone in need.
County commissioners this week told Christian they don't oppose his launching what he calls a court-side ministry - an extension of revive-Ohio, which seeks to encourage communities through the power of the Gospel.
Christian said he and other church members intend to set up a small table to engage in prayer with passersby.
"We thought it was a way of trying to help people through the times we're living in," Christian told commissioners.
The court-side ministry will start out small, with just a few church members offering prayer, he said. But Christian said other local people and churches may eventually get involved, too.
Commissioners supported Christian's idea to set up his court-side ministry in front of the courthouse.
"You as an individual ... can stand there and talk to any person you want about their faith, or you can stand there and preach," commissioner Jerry Laffin said. "You see this in different times in cities - they can't do too much about that. That's freedom of speech and also freedom of religion."
Commissioner Rick Muhl-enkamp said the court-side ministry is "a good idea."
"We're a faith-based community," he added.
Commissioners said they would confer with the county prosecutor's office on whether the ministry could also offer prayer inside the courthouse, perhaps in the lounge area.
If county officials allow one group in, they may need to open courthouse space to other organizations seeking space, administrative clerk Kim Everman noted.
After meeting with commissioners, Christian told the newspaper he plans to begin the ministry on Monday morning. Church members will pray with anyone in need, including people going to court for cases involving their children.
"It's open to anyone. It could be employees here. It could be people going to court. It could be a family member," Christian said. "Life's kind of hard for people, and we just want to be able to share Jesus with them."