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Campbell County joins tri-state prayer rally

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By PETER SAWYER

 At 3 p.m. on Nov. 4, Campbell County will join eight other counties in holding prayer rallies for Stand in the Gap.

“The purpose of the events, is a cry for help,” said Dr. Duane Mills, pastor of First Baptist Church of LaFollette. “We’re in a mess.”

The Stand in the Gap Coalition, who has organized the prayer rallies on Nov. 4, sees a need for the Federal Drug Task Force Assistance to increase enforcement and sentencing, elevate treatment opportunities, educate youth and adults about dangers of drugs, reduce their availability and to unify believers across denominational lines.

“Our efforts here in Campbell County will be to work together with other community organizations to raise awareness,” Mills said, referring to the Anti-Drug Coalition. “I think the Stand in the Gap effort in Campbell County is one more layer in the attempt to make a difference in the county along with the other organizations.”

Mills feels it is important to seek sustainable change.

“It’s not a protest movement,” Mills said. “We want to raise awareness, that’s important, but we also want to find tangible, concrete ways to make a difference.”

Much of the movement has been inspired by a revival that took place in Clay County, Ky. almost 10 years ago.

“Clay County has really been an inspiration,” Mills said. “This grassroots movement was really inspired by Manchester, Ky. All of us have sort of come out of this after seeing the DVD Appalachian Dawn.”

After seeing drastic changes that took place along with revival in Clay County, Ky., many have become inspired to seek the same changes in their own communities.

“I feel this is a very historically significant movement because it’s grassroots,” Mills said. “It’s not denominational.”

Campbell County is one of eight counties, from three states, participating in Stand in the Gap this year. The Stand in the Gap Coalition has organized prayer rallies at five locations, which will all take place at 3 p.m.

“We’re pushing for regional events on Nov. 4,” Mills said.

Campbell County will meet at Campbell County High School. Hawkins County and Hancock County will meet at City Park in Rogersville, Scott County will meet at the Huntsville Mall, Bell County, Ky. will meet at Bell County High School, Claiborne County, Union County and Lee County, Va. will meet at Gose Park and Fentress County will hold a prayer rally in Jamestown.

“What began in Claiborne County as an event there, spread,” Mills said.

Last November, a group of concerned citizens in Claiborne County hosted a 6,000-person prayer rally at Cumberland Gap Historical National Park. A prayer walk began at Lincoln Memorial University’s campus and proceeded 2.6 miles into the park. Prayer stations were set up along the march. At Cumberland Historical National Gap, everyone gathered in organized prayer for the schools, local law enforcement, and against the spread of drugs.

After last year’s event, there were a series of monthly meetings hosted in Claiborne County. 

“Through these series of meetings, other interested counties began to join,” Mills said.

Many of the counties attending the meetings had hosted their own prayer rallies.

“The interest now was ‘how do we all pull together and work with a sense of unity?’” Mills said. “Our mutual interests led to the forming of the Stand in the Gap coalition.”