Members of Portsmouth church gather along Columbus Avenue to give “free prayer” to drivers

Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 12, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-12 23:08:43-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - You might have seen them if you were driving along Columbus Avenue in Portsmouth on Saturday.

Members of the Prentis Park Seventh-Day Adventist Church wore blue t-shirts while smiling, singing, waving, and offering prayer and positivity for free.

"When we stop individuals, they tell us what their names are, and we write their requests on a wall, and then we pray for them," says Pastor John Janey Jr.

The group also joined individuals in a prayer circle if they chose to pull over.

"It's just been these random things I think were meant to happen because we were here on this corner today," says Hazelynn White.

Pastor Janey says they like to do the "free prayers" annually, but this year it is especially needed.

According to Portsmouth Police records, there have been at least seven shootings since the beginning of August, and at least three of the shootings were deadly.

A big part of the church's movement is to get their youth out in the community and set them in the right direction. Additionally, it is to direct others who did not have that opportunity at a young age.

"It's important for us as a church, it's very important for me as a mother, to come out to the community and try to reach some of the people who have been overlooked, and maybe reconnect with some of the people we have connected with before," says Tricia Crawford. "It's very important not only in Portsmouth, but in every city in this Hampton Roads area."