IN CINCINNATI, OHIO CHRISTIANITY IS MAJOR LEAGUE!
by Stan Griffin
Cincinnatiís "Great American Ball Park, home of the Reds, opened their doors on June 21 for its first non-baseball event: "Cincinnati Prays and Worships Together." For 14 hours (10 a.m. to midnight), an open invitation was extended to the public: not for a baseball game but to gather together "all races and Christian denominations." There was no admission.
Sponsor of this event was a local movement called "Transformation Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky." For months they have been encouraging people to attend noon prayer services at downtown Cincinnatiís Fountain Square. Founder Ford Taylor says " ... (Transformation) is a process God is taking our city through ... changing hearts one at a time ... The real success will be in the changes He brings about as the result of earnest prayer and soul searching ... (hoping for) ... a lower crime rate, a growing economy, people being nicer to each other, churches growing, and more people being led to Christ ..."
Ordinarily it would have cost $100,000 plus operational expenses to rent the stadium, but the Reds and Hamilton County reduced the price to $50,000. Taylor and Transformation planned to pay all rental costs from donations, including proceeds from sales of T-shirts, CDs, and concession stands at the event.
Over the past several months, Taylor and his organization contacted 1,600 local churches and held 40 information services in the area. They put together a force of 1,200 volunteers to make things run smoothly.
At the G. A. B. P. "happening," times were set aside for prayer about certain topics including Government, the U. S. and the World, Business, Families, Churches, Reconciliation, and New Beginnings. Approximately 90 pastors and community business personages led prayers and spoke about the healing process needed in Cincinnati.
Colorful decorations brightened the surroundings. Women in flowing dresses danced in circles on the field as contemporary Christian bands performed, their music piped over the public address system. People ran around the outskirts of the field with colorful flags that represented unity. "Worship Art" from local churches was showcased on the field.
On "second base" was a golden throne draped in deep red material and flanked by two crosses, one blue and the other gold.
It was estimated that at any one time only 100 or more seats were occupied. However, it should be noted that there was a turnover of worshippers for the 14-hour period, with people entering and leaving at various times.
According to Taylor this was only the first of several similar gatherings, a number of which will be geared toward non-Christians and held in local high schools.
One participant said, "Itís good for people to come together in prayer. When they agree in prayer, thereís power in that. He hears our prayers."