The Rev. Bob Whitt says his goal is to have 100 pastors involved in "Pray Fox Valley" by 2020.
Pastors typically share many of the same goals -- spreading their faith, helping the needy -- but often don't know each other, even when their churches are next door.
Bob Whitt, a South Elgin pastor, said that's why he started an initiative called Pray Fox Valley, which brings together Christian churches of various denominations from Crystal Lake to Aurora. There are about 30 pastors involved ,and his goal is to reach 100 by 2020.
"We have neighbors that we don't even engage with, and then we have things happening in our communities, and we wonder why," Whitt said. "We've got to be able to come together in unity, and part of unity is praying with our neighbors next door."
Prayer is all about seeking wisdom, Whitt said. "Programs, initiatives, all those things are great. But at the end of the day, the one thing that will always stand out is prayer."
Pray Fox Valley will launch on Jan. 22 a "prayer cast," or a series of videos each featuring one of the 30 participating pastors, with a new video released every day, Whitt said. In the videos, the pastors talk about what matters to their churches and what they hope people will pray for.
The prayer cast will make it easier to get to know other pastors, even if only virtually at first, said Rev. Dexter Ball of Faithwalk Harvest Center in Carpentersville, which has hosted prayer meetings.
"(Pray Fox Valley) makes prayer the central focus of what we do as people of God, regardless of denomination, racial, social, economic background," he said. "Prayer is the common denominator."
Whitt was the pastor of Family Life Church in Elgin until it closed in 2015. He now works part-time as community liaison for the Elgin Police Department.
"Bob's been a strong advocate for years, and I really respect him," said Rev. Jeff Frazier of Chapel Street Church in Geneva, which also has hosted prayer meetings. Frazier said that thanks to Whitt's initiative, he's made connections with other area pastors who now get together monthly.
"Sometimes I think the church is known for being divided, and that's a shame," Frazier said. "Pastors are really busy people and everyone is doing their own thing, but I think we can all come together in this way."
Pray Fox Valley will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. Jan. 24 at Kingdom Impact Center in Aurora.
People can get more information and subscribe to the free prayer cast at prayfoxvalley.org.