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By Major Frank Duracher

Southern Spirit staff

ffective prayer is a serious matter to a group of soldiers in Morehead City, N.C., led by Captains Mark and Sherry Czanderna. The soldiers there call their ministry "the corps by the shore." They put feet on their prayers by extending themselves far beyond the corps walls - into neighborhoods and even the beaches of this seaside community.

The corps itself is not old, having been in existence for less than 10 years. But numerical growth has been steady lately, more than tripling in size in the last few years.

"We attribute that to prayer, and lots of it," said Captain Mark Czanderna. "We literally want to draw people into our fellowship, because folks have an innate need for communing with God. People want to pray for others, and they want others to pray for them as well."

Prayer requests are constantly brought to everyone's attention in corps programs throughout the week. From Corps Cadet classes to Home League meetings, the first order of business is to update everyone on prayer concerns, followed by corporate and individual prayer for each item.

Some groups devote themselves for prayer time throughout the week, and when weather permits they meet at a nearby ocean pier.

"We don't mind being visible when we pray. In fact we want to be a witness to as many as possible. The pier and beach are popular gathering places for locals and tourists, and often we are joined by otherwise total strangers," Czanderna said.

When they are not praying while meeting at the pier, the group has a Bible study using the "Easter to Easter" material.

"We also have a group called the ‘Acts Fellowship,' meeting in soldiers' homes and inviting others in their neighborhoods to join. A devotional period starts the meeting off, but a major portion is devoted to prayer concerns. That has proven to be as important as the Bible study itself," he said.

Czanderna added that Acts Fellowship is intended to be an outreach ministry, open to anyone. Some of the neighbors have even accepted invitations to attend services at the corps.

"We've found that for some people it can be uncomfortable to go to a Bible study, as such - but most people are always open to share a prayer request," he said.

One important component to the corps family's prayer life is the Sunday morning practice of a special season of prayer led by Joan Casey, whom Czanderna describes as "someone who really knows how to pray."

Casey is the women's ministries secretary and a Sunday school teacher for children. She cooks for advisory board meetings and corps events. But her favorite role is "encourager and prayer advocate" for her Salvation Army family. She and her husband, CSM Harold Casey, are walking testimonies to the effectiveness of fervent prayer (see related story). The Caseys also head a prayer chain within the corps family, when an emergency requiring prayer arises that cannot wait until Sunday.

She stays informed about prayer needs throughout the week and reports these to the congregation before prayer is offered for each request. Casey also opens the floor for testimonies to be given for answered prayer.

YPSM Amy Jenkins keeps the importance of prayer always before her youth groups. Her ministry to the children and young adults of the corps is keeping the group intact and attracting other youth into the fellowship.

"Effective prayer is vital to the growth of our corps," Captain Sherry Czanderna said. "It is the keeping power that binds us together."

"We pray for people," she said. "When new people visit, hopefully they see that we are not ‘playing church' but are sincere about our beliefs and conviction that they should come to know Christ as Savior and Lord."

ROOTS-South narrows the gap in fight against injustice

By Brooke Turbyfill

Southern Spirit staff

t seemed wherever you went at ROOTS-South 2007, delegates were talking about how to fight for people who are impoverished and oppressed. This year's theme, "Dance upon Injustice," was taken to new depths Jan. 12-15, 2007, when over 300 delegates at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in Talladega, Ala., were repeatedly asked to go beyond just dancing upon injustice, but to stand alongside it and know its name.

Knowing the name of injustice, said Friday night's speaker Aaron White, means referring to impoverished as "poor people" rather than "the poor." His aim along with other speakers - Majors Richard and Janet Munn and Commissioner Max Feener - was to bring home the reality of suffering that many people endure on a daily basis.

White contrasted the billions of dollars that are spent annually in North America trying to fight the disease of obesity with an illustration about witnessing poverty. He shared the story of his friend in Mozambique who watched children on the side of the road eating dirt. But even that story can seem far away to us, White inferred. "Instead of saying, ‘I want to fight this oppression or that oppression,'" he encouraged, "we need to say, ‘I want to fight that oppression in me.'"

Continuing to personalize the message to dance upon injustice, Major Janet Munn led delegates in a recitation Saturday morning of "While Women Weep." She applied Booth's declaration by saying, "It's not right for me to live selfishly, to do what I want - because I was bought for a price. Use your will to yield yourself deeply. I will fight."

While warriors were stirred in corporate venues, 20 different seminars provided warfare strategies in the fight against injustice. Bob and Vickie Poff informed delegates about the benefits of buying fair trade products, and Major Mike Hawley, New Orleans, La., area commander, challenged delegates to pray with faith. The Teen Venue used a contemporary drama, "Jesus Walk," to urge teens toward total surrender. Graham Kendrick and TransMission led worship, and a 24/7 prayer room encouraged delegates to seek the Lord.

Special guest Aaron White summarized the thread that bound the weekend's seminars and venues together. "There is no worship without justice. There is no witness without justice. There is no prayer without justice," he said.

For photos of ROOTS-South 2007, see pages 4-5.

 






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