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Prayer is focus of event

Area residents have three opportunities to join neighbors, friends and strangers in prayer for their community as part of the 61st-annual National Day of Prayer on Thursday.

A prayer breakfast at the First United Methodist Church, a noon prayer service at the Washington Municipal Building and a prelunch prayer service at the Civic Center are scheduled give people an opportunity to pray together, said Dick Barber, Beaufort County’s National Day of Prayer chairman.

“The theme this year is ‘One Nation Under God.’ I feel the nation was founded principally by God. Our founding fathers used Christian principles to guide them. We still are one nation under God, coming together with the common bond to be better neighbors, to govern better, to improve economic conditions,” Barber said.

Hosted by the First Methodist Church in downtown Washington, the prayer breakfast starts at 6:45 a.m. in Wesley Hall (the church’s new addition facing West Third Street) with a quick breakfast, music, a welcome and a prayer by Barber.

The following service features a host of local volunteers who will offer two-minute prayers for schools and children, elected and appointed leaders, the local economy, the local hospital and health-care providers and the poor and oppressed, Barber said.

The church is located at 304 W. Second St. The service ends at 7:45 a.m.

Barber will guide another prayer service at the Washington Civic Center, 110 N. Gladden St., starting at 11 a.m. This is a prelunch service during the regular monthly meeting of the Beaufort County Committee of 100, Barber said, adding that people are invited to join the service and stay for lunch if they desire.

Barber suggests that even if people cannot attend one of the prayer services they take time during the day to pray for whatever concerns them in their community. “I believe prayer makes a difference and I see a lot of evidence of that,” Barber said.

The Rev. Jay Martin with the Church of the Good Shepard is guiding the noon prayer service on the terrace of the city’s Municipal Building at the corner of Market and Second streets.

As with the breakfast service, the noon service begins with a welcome and a prayer, followed by prayers for several areas of the commmunity — youth and family, military, municipal leadership, the less fortunate and others, Martin said.

“That’s what I get excited about. (The day of prayer) brings representatives from various parts of our community all together in prayer,” Martin said.

The service runs until 12:45 p.m.

Created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry S. Truman, the National Day of Prayer is observed each year on the first Thursday in May. It is a day to transcend differences; a day for people of all faiths and backgrounds to join together in prayer for community, economic and government betterment.

“Our goal is to celebrate the faith vitality in our community. We encourage everyone to come out and participate and be a part,” Martin said.