Peaceful solidarity won on May 8, 1999, in Warsaw.



The first action was to pray and encourage everyone to seek God’s wisdom and guidance. Out of that prayer meeting Randy Packer, president of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association, along with Pastors John B Lowe II, Chad Burkhart and Joe Banks, to name a few, began calling around town to gather the community together for an event that eventually would be called “Cultures, Community and Christ.”

CCC was sponsored by the Ministerial Association in cooperation with Grace College & Seminary, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, Warsaw Community School Corp. and Warsaw Community Development Corp. It was held Friday, May 7, on the night before, at Center Lake Park. Packer noted that the celebration would "make a positive statement about our cultural diversity and the reconciliation through Christ that makes that possible."

During the gathering everyone was asked to stay away from the Klan rally the next day. They closed in prayer, with people holding hands and tears flowing in agreement.

The next morning law enforcement put barriers on the streets in a two-block area around the courthouse. The Klan members showed up to empty streets, closed businesses and a lonely courthouse lawn as they got out of their bus. They stayed only for a short time because they had few to listen to their rants of hatred.

Lowe recently reflected on that time: “Kosciusko County and Warsaw were bathed in prayer and the Holy Spirit touched people’s hearts, allowing unity to shine. Liberties were exercised, without conflict, due to prayer and a plan of following peace.

“People have their right of free speech but also have the right to ignore bigotry. We need prayer every day to ask Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to come and shine in Kosciusko County, our Nation and the World.”

Today at noon everyone was encouraged to come to the Winona Heritage Room in Winona Lake to observe National Day of Prayer.  This year’s theme is “Unity,” something that is in short supply today.

Take time to pray.

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association. Have ideas for this column? Go to www.gwma.info.