Photos: Prayer gathering hosted by Collin County Churches in McKinney

Many of those present at the gathering of Collin County Churches wore shirts and held signs that said "praying for justice and against racism." More shirts with the same message were handed out to the crowd. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Many of those present at the gathering of Collin County Churches wore shirts and held signs that said "praying for justice and against racism." More shirts with the same message were handed out to the crowd. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Many of those present at the gathering of Collin County Churches wore shirts and held signs that said "praying for justice and against racism." More shirts with the same message were handed out to the crowd. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
Standing among a crowd upward of a thousand, Chiamaka Duru (left), nodded in affirmation as pastors from more than 10 churches around Collin County prayed and spoke on racism and injustice. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Those in the crowd lifted their hands during prayer at the June 4 prayer rally. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Dr. Conway Edwards, lead pastor of One Community Church, welcomed the crowd, saying, "Racism is not a skin issue. It is a sin issue." (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Those in the crowd lifted their hands during prayer at the June 4 prayer rally. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Leadership from churches involved in creating the Collin County Churches group stood near the top of the courthouse stairs. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Dr. Louis Rosenthal, pastor at The McKinney First Baptist Church, prays over the crowd at the Collin County Courthouse. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Jim Johnson, senior pastor at Preston Trails Community Church, gives a second welcoming prayer to church members June 4. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Many of those present wore masks and stood a few feet from one another with the exception of family members. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Jennifer Irozuru leaned against the railing of the courthouse stairs as she listened to prayers from Collin County pastors. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Children were encouraged to raise their voices at the gathering. A young boy jumped up with his sign in response. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Dawn Stephens, member of One Community Church, took down notes from the multiple short sermons given on racism and injustice. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Derrick Golden, senior pastor at Amazing Church in McKinney, asked those present to help combat racism and continue discussions of justice in Collin County by taking part in the Unity Table. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Those in the crowd lifted their hands during prayer at the June 4 prayer rally. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Some knelt to the ground in prayer as the evening drew to a close. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Sheryl Brady, pastor of The Potter’s House of North Dallas, helped close the evening with a prayer. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
McKinney Mayor George Fuller took the stage to proclaim that every fifth weekend in his city would officially be a Unity Table day. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Families were asked to pray together over what was said by pastors before the gathering ended. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
Families were asked to pray together over what was said by pastors June 4. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
The parking lot in front of the Collin County Courthouse was filled along with a large portion of the two-way strip of road between the parking areas during the gathering. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
A line of cars waited along Bloomdale Road and N. Central Expressway as the event began at 7 p.m. June 4. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Standing among a crowd numbering at least a thousand, Chiamaka Duru said she felt proud of her church community.

Duru attended a June 4 gathering of churches to represent people like her, she said. Holding a sign that read "Black Lives Matter," Duru nodded in affirmation as pastors and staff from about 10 churches prayed and spoke about racism and injustice from the steps of the Collin County Courthouse.

"I decided to come out here to... bring justice to a system that is not for us," Duru said. "I think prayer brings people together, and I'm glad that people were able to join in on a conversation about racism, about the injustices, and then be able to pray our way out of all the things we've experienced and gone through in history."

Many of those present wore shirts and held signs that said "praying for justice and against racism." More shirts with the same message were handed out to the crowd.

"What we're trying to do is simply trying to have an African American pastor and an Anglo pastor come together and pray," Dr. Conway Edwards, lead pastor of One Community Church, said as part of the welcome. "Racism is not a skin issue. It is a sin issue."


Many of those who spoke are part of a group called Collin County Churches. As part of its call to action, the group asks church members to share a meal with someone who doesn't look like them every fifth weekend. This effort to combat racism and to continue discussions of justice in Collin County will be known as the Unity Table, announced Derrick Golden, senior pastor at Amazing Church in McKinney.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller proclaimed that every fifth weekend in his city would officially be a Unity Table day.

"As I look out... the most powerful thing I see is white, black, brown citizens all standing together," Fuller said. "As I hear about the Unity Table, my first thought is, 'Why didn't I think of that?' But what I can do is see and seize an incredible idea."

The churches of Collin County are also working to create a task force to hold local officials accountable, Golden said.

"You don't have to be a physician; you don't have to be a lawyer; you don't have to be a judge; you don't have to be a police officer," Golden said. "But the ministry of Jesus Christ needs us now more than ever before."

Attendees honored leadership from the churches involved in creating the Collin County Churches group as well as law enforcement and city leaders, all of whom sat or stood near the top of the courthouse stairs.

Roughly 150 churches were represented at the gathering, according to event host One Community Church.

Dave and Lisa Stephenson walked away from the event with a Unity Dinner already scheduled. The two had been members of Chase Oaks Church, a large predominately white church in Plano, for nearly six years. Four years ago they decided to move to One Community Church, one of the largest predominately black churches in the area, Dave Stephenson said.

"We felt like we needed to be more diverse in our lives, so we got uncomfortable and went to a predominately African American church," he said.

The impact of the evening was fantastic, one that Lisa Stephenson said she hopes will not wear off soon.

For Dave Stephenson, protesting and prayer make a lasting impact.


"I think they go hand in hand," he said. "You're not going to make a difference in the world if you're not bold enough to stand up and protest, and you're not going to make a difference in the world if you don't pray."
By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


MOST RECENT

The changes to the plans for Beacon Square were voted down, including nine additional live-work units, which can be used for commercial or residential uses. (Rendering from city of Plano presentation)
City of Plano rejects plan for reduced retail at Beacon Square development

The rejected changes included additional live-work units in place of some of the retail stores that had been featured in the original plans.

An extensive project to repair pavement and sidewalk on Jupiter Road continues as crews prepare to move to a new stretch of road. (Courtesy Fotolia)
Jupiter Road crews in Plano continue work on north- and southbound lanes

The project will eventually stretch from 14th Street to the northern city limits.

Richardson Bike Mart has about 11,000 bicycles on back order. (File photo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Richardson shop has 11,000 bicycles on back order and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

In all, 180 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the past seven days—down from the 211 confirmed the week before—as 91 additional people were marked as recovered from the virus. (Community Impact staff)
Tracking COVID-19 in Plano: Number of active cases grows by 22% in first week of August as area hospitalizations continue their decline

Two new Plano coronavirus deaths reported in the last week brought the city's confirmed total to 22 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

Thirteen drive-thru grocery stores operated by the Salvation Army of North Texas are offering backpacks filled with supplies. (Courtesy Salvation Army)
Salvation Army expands North Texas grocery service locations to include school supplies, protective equipment

Backpacks filled with school supplies, personal protective equipment, financial assistance resources and U.S. Census forms will be available at the 13 existing locations.

Cottonwood Creek Trail features platforms for viewing wildlife and fishing in Cottonwood Creek. (Courtesy Visit Frisco)
Trails system in Frisco expands and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the DFW area.

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure. (Courtesy Total Primary Care)
Find out where to get a 15-minute COVID-19 test in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth metros

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

Mallow Box's first location opened at The Shops at Willow Bend. (Courtesy Legacy Hall)
Mallow Box to open second location at Plano's Legacy Hall

The gourmet marshmallow dessert stall will offer s’mores, skewers, toasts, bowls and specialty shakes.

SweetStop bakery holds grand opening in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Among other things, the Plano Tomorrow plan guided the city's zoning decisions on the remaining tracts of undeveloped land. (Gavin Pugh/Community Impact Newspaper)
City repeals Plano Tomorrow plan after years of contentious debate on apartments

The city of Plano has repealed the Plano Tomorrow comprehensive development plan, the result of nearly a half decade of political and legal conflict over the document's provisions on development and density.