LOXLEY, Ala. (WALA) - A local prayer group in Baldwin County recently ran into some controversy. The group said the place they pray was deemed off limits.
The Coalition of Prayer group of Baldwin County was told not to pray near the Loxley Work Release Center.
Patricia Williams and Valenia Green said they had been praying with prisoners at the camp since April and recently were told they could not pray on the property. After moving across the street to pray, the problem escalated.
"We would actually get outside our cars and start praying, then other people would come and see us praying and then come and join in with us and that's how it actually started,” said Patricia.
It started with Patricia. Then Valenia joined.
"God had sent me there to pray. He told me to pray for the inmates and their family. He would tell me what to pray for and I prayed,” said Valenia.
They prayed on the side of County Road 64, directly across the street from the Loxley Work Release Center. After months of praying on the property with inmates, the prayer group was told to stop. That is when they began praying again across the street.
"Lt. January told us that when we were praying outside, visual, on the side of the road, on the County Road 64, that we had obstructed the County Road 64. Then they told us that the county didn't want us praying on the side of the road. That's when we reached out, we prayed, and we reached out to the Commissioner Dorsey,” said Valenia.
"Someone apparently from the Department of Corrections had asked our highway department to install some 'No Parking' signs without much explanation out there besides saying they had trouble with people parking on the street there,” said Commissioner Tucker Dorsey.
Commissioner Dorsey said this type of action must be approved by the County Commission first. So he ordered the “No Parking” signs to be taken down Thursday morning. By Thursday afternoon, they were gone.
"We're not going to set up 'No Parking' signs in one spot in the county to keep people from going there to pray for inmates. We're just not going to do that,” said Commissioner Dorsey.
"On County Road 64, if you notice, there are no signs at all that say you cannot park on the side of the road. It was in the very spot where we started praying at. Prayer does work. We wouldn't be here, if it didn't work,” said Valenia.
Now that the signs have been taken down, Patricia and Valenia said they will be back Sunday morning to pray.
FOX10 News has reached out to the Baldwin County Highway Department and the Alabama Department of Corrections for comment. As of Friday evening, FOX10 News has not heard back from either agency.
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