Crossover Church to host Prayer Walk Ending at University Mall

Crossover Church to host Prayer Walk Ending at University Mall

By Sarah Whitman/Tampa Bay Faith

On Saturday, hundreds will gather at Crossover Church in Tampa to pray and walk together.

Led by Crossover pastor Tommy Kyllonen and his wife, Lucy, the gathering will draw church leaders, city officials and others from throughout the Tampa Bay area.

The Uptown Prayer Walk will begin at 9 a.m. in the Crossover parking lot, 1235 E Fowler Ave., and end at University Mall, where protests led to violence and rioting May 30.

The Kyllonen’s, who just days ago watched businesses burn to ash near their church, organized a walk to unite the community they readily serve.

Each year, Crossover hosts Love Our City week, where volunteers spend days painting houses, delivering groceries and even passing out free gas cards in the University area.

I spoke to Lucy Kyllonen about uniting the local Christian community to lift hands in worship and put faith into action.

There have been multiple protests across Tampa Bay this past week. What sets the Uptown Prayer Walk apart?

We don’t want to call it a protest. This event is about coming together to pray for our community and for our leaders. At first, this was something we planned to do for our church and the surrounding area, but it has turned into something much bigger. Many churches will be represented, there will be business owners and county commissioners walking and praying together, which is great.

What was your experience watching the footage Saturday night?

My husband and I were both glued to the T.V. It was scary for us. This is our community. These are our neighbors. We’ve been in this community ten years now. We’ve seen positive change.

One business that has helped us distribute food every Friday burned down. We were watching and we were concerned about our building but, at the same time, it’s just a building. We were more concerned about the violence and people getting hurt.

Where you involved in the clean up efforts?

My husband was out there the following morning. He said most of it had already been cleaned up. There was a group from USF that helped and the city had taken care of a lot it.

What do you think the Christian Church’s role should be in unifying people at a time like this? Do you think there is division within the Church itself?

I know there has always been injustice but before seeing it like this, with George Floyd, we’ve never really (as the Church) taken action.

I was reading 1st Corinthians: 12 that says, ‘when one person suffers everyone suffers.’ There shouldn’t be division in the Church body but there is, even if it’s not intentional. We can do better to unite to help those who are suffering.

There are so many people that are hurting. There should be more emphasis put on helping each other outside of our individual churches. This situation effects everyone. We need to do something about it together.

As one church, we can’t meet every need, but we can partner with other churches to provide resources. Together we can do more. We can do better. But we can’t do it by ourselves.

There is often discussion of current events as signs of the end times? The spread of COVID-19, economic crisis, the murder of George Floyd and the worldwide response – do you consider these events signs of the end or a catalyst for positive change?

Maybe a little bit of both. We don’t focus on analyzing the situation. We focus more on what God is calling us to do. We knows He is still in control. He is still faithful and steadfast. Yes, we believe we are living in the end times. We believe a lot of the things happening are Biblical. However, I also know even as a child, I remember hearing these things, that based on events then, Jesus was coming back soon. We know He is coming back, but we don’t know the day or the time. So, we focus on what God is calling us to do now.

The day of the prayer walk, what will participants be doing?

We will start with worship at the Crossover parking lot. We will be in the lot, so parking will be next door where the Phantom Fireworks building is. We will have parking attendants. We will welcome everyone and sing two worship songs outside Crossover. Everyone will receive instructions from there and begin marching, walking and praying together. We’d prefer people not bring signs. We will also be singing as we walk.

Participants should arrive between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. The road will be closed from the Church to 22nd St. for the walk. For more information, visit crossoverchurch.org.


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