In May 14 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The first-ever community event held in the new Russell County Schools’ Auditorium/ Natatorium Complex was a community prayer service that coincided with the 58th annual National Day of Prayer, according to Bro. Tony Stephens, minister at Jamestown Christian Church and a member of the Russell County Ministerial Association, which organized the event.
The National Day of Prayer Community Service went very well, according to Stephens.
"It was a great experience for us," he said. "Any time you have an event like this, it is hard to tell the exact turnout but I was there for the dedication service and based on those numbers I'd say between 500 to 600 people attended."
He said around 20 local churches were somewhat involved in putting on the service and more than 50 churches were represented in the crowd.
"The more people we can get involved in this the better," he said.
Stephens said the event centered on the original Focus on the Family's "7 Points of Prayer, 7 Days a Week" national program that focuses on seven concerns within a community: government, education, family, church, business, youth and health.
Fourteen speakers from within the community spoke on each of the seven topics, Stephens said.
Rep. Jeff Hoover and Gail Wilson spoke on government, Supt. Scott Pierce and Wayne Ackerman spoke on education, Julie Beckman and Janelle Miller talked about family, Bro. Carroll Egnew and Bro. James Small spoke on church issues, Terry Stephens and Donnie Morrison spoke on business, Alex Hoover and Naomi Galito talked about issues surrounding today's youth and Dr. Rick Miles and Dr. Jerry Lawson talked about health issues.
After each of the speakers spoke about the issues and problems surrounding their topic an individual prayer was said for each community issue, Stephens said.
"We as a country are in a time of challenge and prayer can help," he said.
The non-denominational prayer service was set for the Christian community as a whole, Stephens said.
Representatives from local churches and denominations were all present and played important roles in the service.
"We had a very well balanced group," he said. "We had one goal, that the service would be for any one denomination, and we accomplished that goal."
Stephens said the vocalists, musicians and special music were all terrific and the event was "moving."
He also raved about the new schools complex and the ability to hold an event of this magnitude in such a spectacular setting.
"We never had a place of this level to put on such a program," he said. "Russell Springs and Jamestown can now come together."
He said the staff of the complex and facility director Susan Melton was great to work with.
"They were so accommodating," he said. "From the lighting to the sound, they worked it all."
Bro. Rick Mann of Fairview Baptist Church also spoke at the event's onset.
Through the efforts of the National Day of Prayer Task Force this year more than 40,000 events were held across the United States. Several million people nationwide participated in this call to prayer.
In 1775, the Continental Congress allocated a time for prayer in forming a new nation, according to the event's Web site.
On April 17, 1952, President Harry Truman signed a bill proclaiming the National Day of Prayer into law in the United States. President Reagan amended the law in 1988, designating the first Thursday of May each year as the National Day of Prayer.
The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972 and it went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer.
According to the Legal Information Institute, the President issues a proclamation each year designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.
National Day of Prayer calls on all people of different faiths in the United States to pray for the nation and its leaders. It is held on the first Thursday of May each year.
The theme for this year's prayer was "Prayer... America's Hope" and is based on the verse from Psalm 33:22 which states: "May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."
The observance of the National Day of Prayer is founded on the constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion and can be celebrated by all Americans, according to the Web site.