Day of Prayer to be observed

Published 2:32 pm Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Community Editor

The 59th-annual National Day of Prayer will go on as planned in the Original Washington, as well as Washington, D.C.
Last week, Washington Mayor Archie Jennings signed a proclamation declaring Thursday as A Day of Prayer.
The proclamation reads: “It is fitting and proper to give thanks to God by observing a day of prayer in Washington, N.C., when all may acknowledge our blessings and express gratitude for them, while recognizing the need for strengthening religious and moral values in our state and nation.”
President Barack Obama is expected to sign a similar proclamation Thursday, despite a federal judge’s ruling that a federal statute that recognizes the day is unconstitutional.
On April 15, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in favor of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists that filed a lawsuit against the federal government in 2008 arguing the statute recognizing the day violated the Constitution’s clause regarding the separation of church and state.
Obama’s administration countered that the statute simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States. In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Obama spokesman Matt Lehrich said the president still plans to issue a proclamation for the next prayer day.
Congress established the day in 1952, and in 1988 it set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray.
Dick Barber, who is organizing the local Day of Prayer, said prayer is needed now more than ever.
“In these uncertain times, prayer tends to bring us together as a community,” he said.
The theme of this year’s prayer day is “For Such A Time As This.”
The local celebration kicks off bright and early with a breakfast at 15th Street Church of God. The breakfast starts at 6:45 a.m. and includes ham and eggs, fruits and muffins. The celebration will continue with a prayer service hosted by the Beaufort County Committee of 100 at the Washington Civic Center at 11:15 a.m. Mayor Archie Jennings will give the opening remarks, before giving way to several ordained ministers and lay ministers.
Barber, who will speak during the prayer service as a lay minister from the Church of the Good Shepherd, said the speakers will pray for a variety of things, such as the community, family, the needy and the homeless.
The celebration will culminate with another prayer service at the Municipal Building at noon. Barber said the services usually last about 40 minutes.
“I encourage everyone to make one of the services. If you can’t join us at one of the three services, please pray when you can,” he said.
Barber has been in charge of organizing the local event for three years running. Barber said he decided to take the reins of the event to better serve his community. He called it light work, compared to the reward.