Area church leaders coming together for special 9/11 service on Sunday

Dr. Rusty Savage believes local church leaders will be coming together for one of the most unifying events for the local faith community in Platte City’s recent history.

On Sunday, Sept. 11, members of more than a half dozen area churches plan to come together for a service of prayer and remembrance on the lawn of the Platte County Courthouse to honor first responders and the sacrifices of others. The September 11th memorial comes on the 15-year anniversary of one of the most tragic single days in American history when a terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers killed nearly 3,000 people and injured more than 6,000 more.

Rusty Savage

Rusty Savage

The senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Platte City, Savage noted the event, set to start at 11 a.m., occurs during the normal Sunday service time for the churches involved. That show of unity doesn’t happen often with leaders willing to set aside their individual services to come together as a single congregation.

In addition to First Baptist, Christ Chapel, First Christian Church of Platte City, Platte City United Methodist, New Life Baptist, Second Baptist and The Calling Community Church will be participating. Others could still join.

“I’m very excited about this event,” said Savage, who has served at First Baptist for 25 years and can’t remember a joint event like this one during his tenure. “It marks 15 years since the most galvanizing event of my generation. It also comes at a time when there is such great need for social and cultural healing in our nation between first responders and the very communities they are called to protect and serve.” 

Savage long felt that the church should help keep remembrance of 9/11 in the public consciousness. With the 15-year anniversary falling this year, he started thinking about a picnic or festival on the Baptist church’s property, but recent events led him to seek a more substantial event.

When he approached Rick Krist with Christ Chapel about combining plans, the event started to grow.

“It’s no small thing for churches to lay aside their primary worship service for a gathering like this,” Savage said. “It’s been said that 11 a.m. on a Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America. Well, it won’t be in Platte City on September 11, 2016.

“The location is significant, too. We’ll be gathering to worship and pray on our community’s front lawn.”

The group submitted an application for an event permit and plans to close down a portion of Main Street. There will be inflatables and activity bags to help occupy the children in attendance and hot dogs and water bottles will be available as refreshments.

In conjunction with the service, the Platte County Sheriff’s Office and Central Platte Fire Protection District will be on hand. Savage said other agencies could still join, as well, but those two were the early commitments.

Dr. Charles Briscoe, longtime pastor now retired from Paseo Baptist Church in Kansas City, will be the guest speaker. He is a longtime leader in the faith community in the area, pastoring through the worst racial tensions of the late 1960s. 

Savage called him a personal hero.

Worship music will be led by a group of musicians combined from several of the churches. In addition, leaders from the churches planned to meet each of the 10 days leading up to the event to help organize thoughts and themes for the event.

The churches also plan to welcome Scott Lemasters and his ministry called “Taking it to the Streets.” Lemasters and his volunteers support first responders at major incidents by providing food, water, bathrooms, etc. and also feed and support the homeless in Kansas City.