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COALPORT — Approximately 25 Coalport residents came together Thursday evening to pray for guidance to help residents who are struggling with mental issues or addiction and for opportunities to show more love and support to their neighbors.

The vigil was held in the shadow of the burned out shell of a Main Street home where a Coalport man allegedly set a fire on the evening of April 16 that took the life of a fellow resident.

Organized by Coalport resident Jennelle Thompson, the watch was held at Beechwoods Park.

Thompson told The Progress she placed an open invitation for residents, local leaders and pastors of area churches to assemble to pray for the community.

“Coalport is hurting,” Thompson said. “There is a lot of brokenness in town. I wanted us to come together and support one another. Jesus is the only way to bring healing here.”

Glendale Assembly of God Church pastor The Rev. Jonathan Hendren said residents need to support each other especially during times of strife.

“We need to join together as Christians to support each other and our community,” Hendren said. “We need to be the light in dark times and show the love of Christ.”

The Rev. Len Findlay, pastor of Coalport First United Methodist Church, told those in attendance, Coalport is a great community but needs residents to continue to support and uplift it.

“When the spirit of God gets a hold of the community, things will happen,” Findlay said. “We are giving the community to God. He is our strength and he will be the town’s strength too.”

Residents may need to search for the opportunities to show love to their neighbors but those who reach out to those living in their town won’t regret it said Pastor John Shawley of the Reclamation Church of Coalport.

“That’s the great thing about Coalport is that you are able to know your neighbor. As a community we need to love our neighbors and let Jesus’ light shine through us. That’s the amazing thing about God is that he can turn a tragedy into something good,” he said.

The event closed with participants taking a walk from the park onto Main Street and around the block returning to the park. Some carried lit candles. Shawley encouraged those participating in the walk to pray over the neighborhood.

This article originally ran on theprogressnews.com.

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