Crenshaw Christian Center (CCC) and the American Red Cross (ARC) united to present the 2018 Annual Prayer Breakfast on Dec. 6, and an ecumenical crowd of 250+ came out to support the event.
The creative theme, “Celebrating the Power in the Blood,” underscored the Christian doctrine of salvation in the blood of Jesus and the efforts of Red Cross to increase blood donations to save lives.
Further emphasizing the theme were faith leaders CCC Pastor Fred Price Jr., CCC CEO and ARC Regional Board Member Angela Price Evans, Armenian Church Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Hyepin Im of Faith and Community Engagement in Koreatown, Matt Ball of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Father Mike Gutierrez of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Baldwin Park.
The ARC-L.A. speakers were CEO Jarrett T. Barrios, Faith-based and Community Programs Director Osas Otasowie and Community & Volunteer Engagement Director Nikki Davis.
Asha Nwaki and the Frederick K.C. Price School choir carried the theme further with the musical selection, “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.” Also, Jennifer Degeddingseze directed the group in spirited rendition of “There is Power in the Blood.”
“The power of your blood can save lives but only if you’re willing to step up and join the American Red Cross and help us connect your communities to the life saving gift, which is giving blood,” said Barrios. “We’re asking our faith partners to join this mission. Without blood, people will die.”
Quoting from Leviticus 17:11, keynote speaker Dr. Cheryl Jang said, “There is life in the blood, but the life of the flesh is in the blood and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls. For it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”
Noting “Jesus shed His blood for us,” Jang said that blood is composed of three components – red blood cells (RBCs), platelets and plasma. Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood, she said, which equates to an annual need of 13 million units of RBCs, 2.5 million units of platelets and 3.5 million units of plasma.
“People with sickle cell, chronic anemia, and kidney and cancer patients need 24,000 units of blood a year as well as those with unexpected injuries like transplants, ruptured vessels or bleeding from pregnancies,” said Jang, who an emergency room physician and a member of Epicentre Church in Pasadena.
She added that the shelf life of blood is 42 days and must be discarded if not used. Also, it can’t be refrigerated, but must be kept at room temperature. Because of these factors, ongoing blood donations are critical to aid those with chronic illnesses or everyday emergencies.
“Your Christmas present to Jesus is one unit of blood and one unit can help three people,” insisted Jang. “This is the reality of the power of the blood. It can help so much.”