Charlotte churches cancel services to hold public prayer in uptown

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Two churches cancelled their services Sunday, deciding instead to unite in uptown Charlotte to pray.

The Exchange Church, which is mostly African-American, and Renovatus Church, which is mostly white, wanted to get together to show that the two congregations share more similarities than differences.

"We know Sunday morning is typically one of the most segregated hours," said Jon Stone, pastor at Renovatus Church, which is predominantly white. "We believe some of this is at our feet for not offering a more unified voice up to this point."

James Scott, of the mostly African-American church, The Exchange, echoed Stone's thoughts.

Scott said he had wanted to hold a united service for a while, but last week's riots made it clear the time was now.

Several days of protests followed the shooting of an African-American father by police officers as he waited for his son to get off a school bus.  Police said Keith Scott, 43, had a gun and refused commands to put it down.  Scott's family and neighbors dispute that Scott had a gun.

"I want this to be the last time we respond to tragedy," Pastor Scott (no relation) said. "I want this to be a unified front, a united multi-ethnic voice to build a new standard or create a new standard for our city."

The two churches walked around the Mecklenburg County Courthouse seven times, each pass standing for a different racial issue.

Strangers like Mya Campbell and Teddy Hart struck up conversations as they strolled with their children.

"I think it's awesome that we're coming out today just to show unity among our city," said Campbell.

"We're just trying to participate faithfully in a prayerful protest of the way things are, and the way we'd like to see things be," echoed Hart.

They learned that both of their children were due on the same day, even though they didn't share a birthday -- one of many things they have in common as parents.

One more step of many uniting races.

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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