Port Neches community rallying for day of prayer on Sunday

Published 12:16 am Saturday, February 15, 2020

PORT NECHES — Laurie Matthews attended the TPC rally last weekend, and what she saw left her heartbroken and sad for her community. The Port Neches citizen took to the TPC Recovery Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook page to extend her frustration and condolences.

“Loved the gathering today!” it read. “Our next one, we all need to gather around the armory and pray for TPC and all employees. We, and they, need the Lord’s guidance through this disaster!”

Matthews, a former Port Neches-Groves Independent School District teacher, received several comments on the post and realized how badly her community needed the strength and the peace.

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“I went to the protest rally last Sunday and people were very upset and angry,” she said. “I made a comment to the mayor’s wife that we needed a prayer rally to help with everyone’s emotions. I left feeling sorry for our community and how we need help. So I posted this statement on Facebook and people replied wanting this. So I made a flyer and posted it.”

The flyer advertises “The Power of Prayer” event at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Splash Park parking lot.

“It has received so much recognition that I am overwhelmed,” Matthews said. “After the response, I and others have reached out to religious leaders to see if they will join and most already have commitments.

“So it is just a citizen-led prayer rally for our communities to unite and pray together. I am hoping this will help everyone feel some peace. Also, I’m hoping everyone leaves knowing no one is alone with this struggle to put their homes back together and all leave feeling less anxious.”

Julie Gauthier, a Port Neches city council member, believes the event will band the community together.

“I think anytime we can gather together as a community during hard times is great,” she said. “I definitely believe in the power of prayer, and it’s great to see our little town come together and face the many trials we have as one.”

Matthews, whose home was damaged by the TPC explosion, is hoping by facing the frustration and changes together, the citizens of Port Neches will gain some clarity and goodwill.

“By asking The Lord to intervene and remove our anxiety, and replace it with His trust is how we can help people,” she said. “Also, I think by gathering together with fellowship, people will feel a sense of belonging.”

Matthews said she wants to welcome everyone to the event for “prayers and more prayers.”