Prayers for candidates part of Voter Turnout Sunday service

The candidates in attendance pray with members of the congregation towards the end of the service.

Prayers for candidates part of Voter Turnout Sunday service
November 10
02:45 2016

Photo by Timothy Ramsey



Bishop Sir Walter L. Mack Jr., senior pastor of Union Baptist Church, has made voter education and has made efforts to make his congregation and the surrounding neighborhoods aware of the candidates and their platforms.

As a conclusion to his efforts, Union Baptist held its Voter Turnout Sunday service on Nov. 6. Guest Speaker for the service was N.C. NAACP President Dr. William J. Barber II.  Mack also invited candidates to join the service.

This service was held as a part of the church’s efforts to increase voter registration, education and voter participation.

The candidates who attended were Lynne Johnson (candidate for Forsyth county register of deeds), Abe Jones (candidate for N.C. Court Of Appeals judge) and Carrie Vickery (candidate for District Court judge). Mayor Allen Joines and Mayor Pro Tempore Vivian Burke also attended.

Mack wanted to stress this is a non-partisan worship service and prayed for all of the candidates.  He said educating people about the political process was very important to him.

“I used to allow politicians to just come in on Sunday’s and just speak, but the people were still not learning who they were,” Mack said.  “What I tried to do this year was to engage the people to know more about the policies that they represent so we will know who we are voting for.

Prior to Dr. Barber taking the pulpit, gospel recording artist Paul Porter took the stage and gave his testimony of his struggles and how he overcame them.

He then performed for the congregation, which brought everyone to their feet.

Dr. Barber’s message of “We better vote” was thought provoking.  He referenced President Woodrow Wilson and the similarities with a candidate who is running during this presidential election. He touched on how Wilson made illegitimate claims about blacks during the Reconstruction era and how a candidate in today’s race is doing the same.  He did not name the candidate, but the message was received.

“When people work this hard to keep you from voting, it’s not because you are weak; it’s because you are strong,” Barber said of voter suppression laws that were attempted to be put in place in the state.  He said powers want to suppress the black vote in the Southern states because they are aware of the powers that be the vote possesses.  He closed by saying, “Our parents did more with less; we have to do more with more.”

Mack said the African-American vote has been slightly down since the 2012 elections.  He believes that Hurricane Matthew had an impact on early voting, which can skew the numbers.  He says as of this past Sunday, 95 percent of his church has voted early and he wanted to make sure as a church “their faith is connected to their walk to the polls.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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