Through song and prayers, religious leaders from throughout Meridian and Lauderdale County gathered Friday for the Mayor's Leadership Prayer Breakfast. Although an annual event, organizers say this year's breakfast placed special emphasis on closing the gaps within the community.
"Selfishly, that's a part of economic development, " says Mayor John Robert Smith. "What's special is not buildings or sidewalks. It's people and that's what an industrialist, building an industrial park, wants to see. He wants to see if you truly care about who you are."
Citing a quote from famed automaker Henry Ford, the guest speaker said he agrees.
"Coming together is the beginning. Working together is progress. Staying together is success," said Mississippi author Dr. John M. Perkins.
As for the churches role in doing this leaders say, "We don't get out in the neighborhoods of our communities," says Mayor Smith. "As I read the New Testament that's exactly what the Lord did. Churches need to be doing that."
Designed to unify the religious community, officials with Mission Meridian say they already have plans in the works to do just that.
"During the summer we plan to come together and partner with different churches and different organizations to go into the community. The housing areas, specifically and do prayer rallies. You know just a lot of different things out there to promote the gospel message," said Mission Meridian director, Charlotte Scott.
Currently, about 15 churches in Meridian and Lauderdale County are actively involved with Mission Meridian. However, with more than 300 churches in all in the area, organization officials say there's still a great deal of work to be done.
For more information on Mission Meridian call (601) 693-1332.