Local church tries out "drive thru prayer"

Jun 17, 2018

Credit Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A drive thru prayer service in the northeast section of the city was giving out water bottles and prayers to anyone who needed either this weekend.

For anyone who has driven around the Rochester Public Market on a Saturday morning, you know it can be a nightmare. I was leaving another interview in that area, trying to find some sort secret back route, which didn’t end up happening. 

I was driving down Scio Street when I saw a bunch of kids and adults standing at an intersection holding up poster board. "Oh, a car wash," I thought. That’s cute my car could use one.

But as I got closer I realized this wasn’t a car wash or a fundraiser… and the posters all read generally the same message…"Are you having bad day? Do you need a prayer?" Some people were handing out free water bottles to cars. And that’s when Devyne Kemp yelled into my car asking my name.

"Do you need a prayer?" He asked. I shouted my name back through the passenger side window, said sure, and kept driving. I was in a busy street. But that interaction stayed with me for a couple of blocks, enough to get me to turn around, get out of my car, and find out more.

Devyne is 14 years old and says this is his way of giving back to the community.

"You gotta help people. Like, there’s so many houses in the world that people can own at least 2 houses a person. We should be giving back to the people, not keeping it for ourselves and being selfish."

Lonnel Brinson is the pastor at Redeeming Word Christian Center International on Woodward Street.

He said the idea behind the project was to bring the church members into the neighborhood where their church is. 

He says sometimes ministries can make the mistake of coming into a community on a Sunday morning, worshipping inside their church, and then leave, driving right past the people in that community 

"You know certain areas; certain places in the city can have this bad name of bad stereotype. We are a ministry right here, right down the street and we just want to show that there’s love on this block."

Brinson says they plan on doing a few more "drive thru prayers" throughout the summer.