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Thousands answer "The Call" in Detroit

A banner outside TheCall: Detroit at Ford Field.
Sarah Cwiek
Michigan Radio
A banner outside TheCall: Detroit at Ford Field.

A 24-hour mass prayer session in Detroit wrapped up Saturday evening. The event drew thousands of people—and a handful of protesters--to Ford Field.

TheCall, a controversial, Kansas City-based Christian group, organized the prayer marathon, called "TheCall: Detroit."

They chose Detroit because, in their words, the city “has become a microcosm of our national crisis,” whose “desperation can produce a prayer that will change the nation.”

Critics say TheCall and its leader, Pastor Lou Engle, promote a radical political and religious agenda that includes anti-Muslim and anti-gay rhetoric.

TheCall also targeted Detroit because of its Muslim population--though it backed off some of its harsher anti-Muslim rhetoric in recent days.

Nathaniel Maccabees runs a group he calls "The Army of God Ministry" and attended the event. He said he thought it had a spirit of inclusion and unity, something he liked.

“In my opinion, I didn’t hear any anti-Islam rhetoric or anything like that,” Maccabees says. “We’re all God’s children, all Abe’s children at the end of the day.”

Gerrit Anderson came from Lansing to pray for Detroit and Michigan.

“It seems like the Lord’s anointing on Detroit,  that he wants to move this city for some reason,” Anderson says. “Kind of taking a broken city and reviving it, and showing that picture to the nation. That he longs for America to come back to him, and to his love.”

Muslim leaders had urged Muslims to stay away from the event. But it did draw protesters from some local Christian groups, who say TheCall’s message is a perversion of their faith.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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