Praying for harmony

It takes more than a house to make a home and soon after the hurricanes, many saw that it would take more than bricks and mortar to rebuild the community. That idea inspired certain signs you may have seen pop up in your neighborhood.

Signs help us figure out where we are, they tell us what to do and they alert us to opportunities. And now, scattered throughout Calcasieu Parish, there are more and more signs that identify: "Homes praying for harmony in our community."

The signs do not stem from any particular controversy or issue like war or political candidates. Local ministers came up with the idea after the hurricanes. Says Rev. Henry Mancuso, "Prayer really is powerful in and of itself." Mancuso says they recognized that more than just homes needed repair and rebuilding. "We can build nice buildings, we can repair the damages, but if we don't really create an internal bond or a spiritual bond among our people, we really will not have be built our community in a sense."

So the signs are actually a project of local ministers and the City of Lake Charles Leadership Team for Community and Race Relations. Youth pastor Charles Robertson's Committee spearheaded the idea. "The prayer component is what we're using to rebuild lives. We think if we rebuilt simply the homes and rebuilt businesses, and not rebuild lives from the spiritual standpoint, we would be remiss in our efforts to rebuild our community."

If you want to put a sign in your yard, check with your pastor. He or she can probably tell you how to get one. They usually ask for a five dollar donation but if you don't have five dollars they'll give it to you.

They hope the signs will remind people to pray; pray for unity that will heal and strengthen perhaps making it easier to weather future adversity.

This is the week of prayer for Christian unity. There's a prayer service including all denominations at 7 p.m. Friday evening at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Lake Charles.