Mayer was there for a church unity meeting with some others from New Life Christian Cathedral when it happened. He said even though his body was in the restaurant, he himself was with the Lord.
And there, God told him, “It will start at home and it will start with the church.”
So on Aug. 17, Mayer will spearhead a citywide revival at Zinn Park, which he says will begin the unification of all the churches in Anniston.
“This is just the beginning of the great revival of this city. It’s going to be a great day to be alive, to see, to be a part of a great day in history. On the 17th, Anniston will never be the same,” he said.
Mayer said the area has deteriorated since he first came to Anniston in 1999. Problems with racial stigma and city official strong-holding have challenged the city, he said, and changes need to be made.
“The problem is principality brings stigma in,” he said. “We’re fighting against each other and our children are dying in the streets.”
Mayer said one way the Model City can regenerate is for people of faith to join together, but unfortunately, many of the churches aren’t on good terms with each other.
“We have pastors who have never shaken hands, never called each other, and we’re all brothers,” Mayer said. “People need to see us come together.”
The revival will be the jumpstart Anniston needs to unify once again, Mayer said. More than 10 churches have already agreed to participate in the event.
“We have churches coming that haven’t bothered with each other before. We’ve spent enough time inside. Our time needs to be spent outside the (church) walls,” he said.
The revival will start at 8 a.m. with breakfast for all participating pastors at Smith Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church in Anniston. There they will be able to sit together, talk and get to know one another, Mayer said. A short service will follow with a line of speakers from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., including Anniston Mayor Vaughn Stewart.
“It’s more like a family reunion,” Mayer said, mentioning there will be food and entertainment. Even the Anniston Fire Department will be there.
Mayer said he first spoke with God seven months ago but didn’t start planning the revival until last month because he originally didn’t believe he could.
“It took me a month and a half because I didn’t think I was worthy enough to do something God wanted me to do,” he said. “If I had done it myself I would have messed it up.”
Mayer said he finally realized God was looking for someone like him, someone with a past in the city.
“It took someone like me,” he said. “I’m a convicted felon. I’ve been on drugs. I’ve been an alcoholic. I see the bigger picture now. I’ll never go back. I’ll do anything the church asks me to.”
Even though he worships with New Life Christian Cathedral, Mayer said the revival was not New Life’s idea, but God’s.
“Anniston and Alabama are a funnel of what God wants us to do. He’s doing the shifting. We’re going to rise up like a phoenix from the ashes. It’s going to start in Anniston — the love — and spread to Oxford and Jacksonville. This city is going to be the city that the world is going to look to.”