A dozen Perris ministers held a “Night of Prayer” August 2 to show the City’s support for police and public safety personnel, military veterans, school children and families and to urge unity across the country.
Perris elected officials joined more than 200 residents at Foss Field Park for the twilight service. Perris Mayor Pro Tem Rita Rogers, who worked with the City’s Cops & Clergy group to organize the event, said recent troubling events—terrorist attacks at home and abroad, police-involved shootings and killings of law officers—prompted Cops & Clergy pastors to action.
Rogers founded Cops & Clergy more than a decade ago to serve as a liaison between Perris law enforcement and the community.
“Perris has unity between its police, pastors and residents,” Rogers said. “We want to make sure the violence taking place in other cities doesn’t reach Perris.”
Police Chief Brandon Ford took the stage along with Rogers and clergy. He praised the City for hosting the night of peace and prayer.
“In the wake of a national narrative that is so divisive with attacks on law enforcement, it is important to express our unity and let the healing begin,” Ford said. “Tonight’s event is clear evidence of how this community is united in preserving the freedom of everybody while fostering public safety. I am truly honored to be here. This is what right looks like.”
Mayor Daryl Busch called the night of prayer “a great event that brings the community together to share unity in our community.”
City Councilman David Starr Rabb agreed that “it is good that everyone is coming together to pray for our nation, state and City.”
“We are praying to heal the divisions,” he said.
City Councilman Mark Yarbrough said he was pleased so many people “from all walks of life cameo to share their faith and express it to others.”
“I’m glad that we are in a community that feels this way,” he said.
Pastor Wade Forde led prayers for the U.S., calling the present time “difficult and challenging days.” He called upon the audience to “be the hope givers, the light sharers.”
Pastor Benjamin Briggs prayed for Perris residents and elected officials, saying “let this City be characterized by its love, patience and tolerance.” Briggs said that elected representatives face challenges in guiding Perris to greater achievements. He urged residents to be compassionate to one other.
“This locale has been given to us so that we might work on one another’s behalf and well-being,” he said.
Pastor Don Meinberg, offering prayers for police, firefighters and other public-safety workers, noted that every time they put on their uniforms, they know they might not return home safely to families and loved ones. Meinberg prayed to give public-safety workers the wisdom to do their jobs in a way that brings honor to them, their communities and the public they protect.
Pastor Ray Grignon wrapped up the night’s program by calling the night of prayer an event that broke down barriers, broke down differences between people.
“Every community in the country needs to do this,” Grignon said. “I pray for justice in Perris. I pray righteousness and justice rule this City. I am so proud to be a resident of and a preacher in the City of Perris.”