(AP Photo/Adam Lau)
NEED PRAYER? CALIF. DRIVE-THRU TAKES ORDERS TO GO
by Nardine Saad
LOMA LINDA — Joyce Kim needed a sign to remind her to pray.
She found it a few months ago along a stretch of rural road where she and hundreds of other Southern California commuters drive home every day.
A 4-foot placard reads “Need Prayer?” Shawn Heggi, a self-appointed Christian spiritual counselor, sits in a blue tent in the field nearby.
Now Kim tries to stop every Friday to pray with Heggi, 35, and two of his friends. They pray for a solution to Kim’s financial troubles, the domestic violence victims she works with and the medical career she put on hold during her mother’s 11-year battle with ovarian cancer.
“I go to church when I can, but that’s on a set time,” Kim said. “There may be times when I don’t have time to go to church. This is just open, it’s free, it’s available for anybody, so I stop as often I can, when I can.”
Heggi’s unconventional ministry caters to worshippers on the go, strategically placed near a traffic-heavy intersection and two hospitals. It offers a more convenient venue to pray than an institutionalized church setting, especially in an era when church attendance is shrinking, said Richard Flory, senior research associate at University of Southern California’s Center for Religion & Civic Culture.
“People can stop by and unload what they have and it keeps them from having to go to church,” he said. “It’s 20 minutes and you go away. There’s no long-term commitment.”
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I’m actually not sure how I feel about this one. Quirky Americanism or cheap faith? I mean, if we’re honest, isn’t she spending more time praying with each person than we do at church where we usually respond with “I’m really sorry to hear that. I will definitely be praying for you.” And then more often than not we don’t…..