More than 450 people came together October 18 to enjoy 'A Night of Hope and Inspiration' with the Rev. Percy McCray, Pastor Desmond Pringle and special guest, Pastor Edwin Hawkins.
The spirit-filled concert, held at West Angeles Church of God in Christ led by Bishop Charles E. Blake, was sponsored by Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA).
CTCA presented the event to educate the Los Angeles community about its Our Journey of Hope (OJOH) outreach program that offers the spiritual support needed during a battle with catastrophic illness like cancer.
The Rev. McCray, director of pastoral care at CTCA Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Zion, IL, explained, “The reason the vehicle of gospel is so appealing to achieve church engagement around wellness and cancer concerns is that the audience most impacted by disparities in treatment is the African American community.
“The latest reports strongly tell us that African Americans are the most impacted by breast and prostate cancer. Looking strategically to what would be the best medium to reach that audience, it is through music, and because OJOH is faith-based, gospel is the platform to gain their attention.
“People of color are inspired by music. In many cases, they are informed by gospel. The Our Journey of Hope program serves churches around the country.”
Gospel music definitely evoked a joyous response from the audience as singer/songwriter Pringle, joined by more than 50 choir members, delivered a powerful rendition of 'Living the Moments' and many other chart-busters from his album, 'Fidelity,' during the concert. The Rev. Pringle is the senior pastor of the Watered Garden Fellowship in Los Angeles.
Also, renowned gospel artist Edwin Hawkins accepted honors for his brother, the late Bishop Walter Hawkins.
“CTCA recognized Bishop Hawkins for his courageous fight against cancer and his leadership in the faith community for speaking out about the importance of seeking effective medical treatment to battle the disease,” noted Rev. McCray.
Hawkins was treated at CTCA at Western Regional Medical Center in Phoenix before his death in July 2010.
The OJOH program provides training for church lay ministries, equipping them with tools and tips to effectively care for cancer patients and their families. OJOH also provides education about prevention, detection, cancer screenings, resulting in a healthier community.
According to “The Cancer Experience: A National Study of Patients and Caregivers,” a study commissioned by CTCA, spiritual support was ranked high in importance among patients and caregivers seeking an “integrated care experience” from the provider, yet less than 20 percent said they received the support in actual experience with treatment.
“The OJOH program endeavors to serve and inspire every person in need of spiritual support during the battle with cancer, including family members and caregivers. CTCA views faith as a primary component in the healing process,” said Rev. McCray.
To learn more about Our Journey of Hope, visit cancercenter.com.