CLAYTON — A prayer initiative launched by Salem Church of God on Easter 2016 has shown up in a colorful way across area streets and parking lots – and another wave may be on the horizon.
For the past year, the Clayton church has distributed magnetic crosses, some blue and some yellow, which affix to the rear of a vehicle. If a driver displaying a cross sees a car with a cross of a different color, the crosses are swapped. During the switch, the driver exchanging crosses says a prayer for the owner/family of the other vehicle. When someone finds a cross of a different color on their vehicle, they know somebody has prayed for them
More than 5,000 crosses have been given out during the past 12 months, and more will be available when Salem hosts Easter services at 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. on April 16. The church also will present a community Good Friday service at 7 p.m. on April 14.
“My husband and I had the opportunity to switch his yellow cross in a parking lot,” said Eve Beavers of Englewood. “As he hopped out to make the switch, he started whistling the theme song to ‘Mission Impossible.’ Well, we know that with God, changing lives through prayer is ‘Mission Possible.’ ”
County Line Church of God in Auburn, IN, originated the idea for the magnetic crosses. Other churches across the Dayton area have contacted Salem in the past year, inquiring how to launch their own program.
Salem’s Holy Week schedule begins with the Good Friday service, when the crosses again will be available, as they will be on Easter.
“Good Friday at Salem will be a special night of worship and reflection,” said Kelly Daniel, worship arts ministry coordinator at Salem. “Through a combination of artistic elements, scripture and a thought-provoking message, we will remember the promises of Jesus, the journey to the cross and take a glimpse at the hope of Easter.”
On Easter, Lead Pastor Steve Southards will begin a teaching series titled, “Because He Lives.”
“Why does Easter matter? Better yet, why does Jesus matter?” Southards asked. “In a world of violence, broken families, empty religion, unanswered questions and suffering, what difference can Jesus really make? ‘Because He Lives’ is a series to address the difference a relationship with Jesus can make, not just in the world, but in your world.”
The Salem orchestra and choir will provide special music during the three identical Easter services. The Good Friday event will include multimedia, choir, soloists and musicians.
The “Because He Lives” series schedule:
* April 16, 8 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – “I Can Face Tomorrow”
* April 23, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – “All Fear Is Gone”
* April 30, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – “He Holds the Future”
* May 7, 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. – “Life Is Worth the Living”
Nursery care will be available through age 2 on Good Friday and at the 8 a.m. Easter service. Complete children’s programming is scheduled for the 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. services on Easter.
For information about Salem’s magnetic crosses or Good Friday and Easter events, please call (937) 836-6500 or visit salemchurch.org. Salem Church of God is at 6500 Southway Road in Clayton … just look for the parking areas full of vehicles bearing yellow and blue crosses.