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KEEPING THE FAITH | October reminds us to be more kind

I would pray this would be our “superpower” to enable us to value and appreciate the worth of every individual and the contributions they offer to make our world better. 
The Rev. Lewis W. Macklin

October is a month that promotes awareness of many great causes such as breast cancer awareness, celebrating persons with Down syndrome, appreciation of clergy and faith leaders, nonviolence and domestic violence. 

Given the current social climate filled with increasing tension and unrest, I want to focus this week on being kinder to one another. Join me in recognizing the value of nonviolence as a way of life. 

I would pray this would be our “superpower” to enable us to value and appreciate the worth of every individual and the contributions they offer to make our world better. 

Violence appears to be on the increase within our homes and in the community. We are enamored and relish violence in our entertainment — movies, gaming, television and literature.  It seems that our society is drawn to violence. Words and deeds seem to be filled with hate, rage and anger. However, Proverbs 3:31-32 advises “Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways. Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord, but He offers His friendship to the godly.”

"Let There Be Peace on Earth" is a song written by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller for the International Children's Choir in Long Beach, Calif. Jill was actually inspired to write this song after her unsuccessful attempt to commit suicidal in response to a failed marriage. The lyrics were crafted in the midst of her emotional healing experience. She had a spiritual awakening which she described as the "life-saving joy of God's peace and unconditional love."

This melody has been performed worldwide. Although it is often heard during the Christmas season, its message in song can be heard throughout the year. It is also popular at gatherings such as interfaith services and community observances such as Martin Luther King Day. My personal favorite arrangement of this song was recently recorded by gospel artist Ricky Dillard

Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me;
Let there be peace on earth,
The peace that was meant to be.

Since 1981, October has been designated as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It was created to promote awareness for others while connecting the countless affected victims. Let’s be clear — abuse is sin! In Paul’s writing, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 he reflects, “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.”

I was privileged to present a workshop along with retired Youngstown Police Detective Sargent Delphine Baldwin-Casey, entitled “Is Your House a Worship A Haven for the Abused or a Harbor for the Abuser?” We challenged the faith community to examine ways to bring relief and support to victims while providing context and content through God’s word how abuse in any form is unacceptable. Too often this violence occurs behind closed doors within our community.  Domestic violence reveals itself in various ways- physical, verbal, intimidation, manipulating, withholding resources yelling and limiting access. Domestic violence is never okay 

No one is immune to domestic violence. It affects women, men and children, of all different races, statuses, religions and cultures. Several studies have concluded an increased risk of family and domestic violence incidents during this current pandemic. Sojourner House offers help for people dealing with domestic abuse in the Youngstown area, call 330-747-4040 to access their services.

With God as our Father
Brothers all are we,
Let me walk with my brother
In perfect harmony.

The 10th annual Nonviolence Parade and Rally will take place today to launch Nonviolence Week in Ohio, which runs through Oct. 10. The inaugural nonviolence parade and rally was held in 2011 and conceived by Janae Ward, a Sojourn student. This year, due to the coronavirus, the parade will be a procession of cars, trucks and floats. The parade will begin at 3 p.m. at the intersection of Wood Street and Wick Avenue, proceeding through downtown Youngstown to the Covelli Centre parking lot. The rally will begin in the parking lot immediately following the parade. People can remain in their vehicles while listening to the rally on their radio by tuning to 97.3 FM.

Nonviolence Week has been celebrated in the Mahoning Valley since 2010 when, at the request of Mahoning Valley Sojourn to the Past students, resolutions were approved by Youngstown City Council, the Youngstown Board of Education, Youngstown State University trustees and Mahoning County commissioners. 

The Sojourn students lobbied then-state Sen. Joe Schiavoni to introduced into the Ohio Senate Sojourn’s “Nonviolence Week in Ohio” bill, which was approved by both houses of the General Assembly designating the first full week in October as “Nonviolence Week” in Section 5.2289 of the Ohio Revised Code. It was signed into law by former Gov. John Kasich on July 11, 2013.  

The purpose of Nonviolence Week is to engage the community in reflection and examination how everyone can work towards nonviolence in the community. The color purple is often worn to bring awareness to the forms of violence, including domestic. The community is invited to participate in week’s additional observances virtual, either via Zoom or Facebook. Zoom meeting invites and general information may be found at

To take each moment and live each moment
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.

Making and maintaining peace must start within ourselves, as we resolve not to use words or actions to hurt or destroy relationships. Never confuse meekness for weakness. Proverbs 6: 16-20 indicates “There are six things the Lord hates — no, seven things He detests: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that kill the innocent, a heart that plots evil, feet that race to do wrong, a false witness who pours out lies, a person who sows discord in a family.” 

As we engage collectively, as a community of believers, to pursue peace, we must commit personally not to fuel anger, bitterness and strife. Like the 9/11 inspired anthem “I Need You to Survive” by  Bishop Hezekiah Walker, “I won't harm you with words from my mouth. I love you, I need you to survive. It is his will, that every need be supplied. You are important to me.” 

So let’s not faint and just keep the faith!

Rev. Lewis W. Macklin II serves as the lead pastor of Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, chaplain for the Youngstown Police Department and local coordinator for the African American Male Wellness Walk of the Mahoning Valley. He resides in Youngstown with Dorothy, his partner in marriage and ministry. They share the love and joy of 6 children and 7 grandchildren.

— All biblical citations are New Living Translation unless noted otherwise