Community gathers in spirit of faith

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2004

Faith and prayers were served as the main lunchtime courses Thursday on the Lawrence County Courthouse lawn beneath blue skies.

On the picture-perfect day, three dozen community members, courthouse employees and area ministers gathered for the National Day of Prayer.

Sponsored by the Ironton Area Ministerial Association, the 53rd annual event highlighted the freedoms to gather, worship and pray.

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"The further we drift away from God, the further we drift away from the great foundations of our nation," said Father Thomas Nau, representing the Ironton Catholic Community. "Something like this takes us back to the very roots, to the very foundation.

"Regardless of someone's religious belief, whatever form of prayer they use, it is part of the religious freedom of our nation. Not exercising the right to pray is not exercising one of the freedoms that is very fundamental to our country."

Ironton resident Lois Anderson said she has tried to participate in the event every year that she could.

"It is just good to get together with people from other churches, well other parts of the church," she said. "There is really only one church."

For Anderson, it makes little sense to be a Christian or a citizen sitting at home alone, when so much more can be accomplished when the community comes together as one.

Fellow Irontonian Katy Bartram agreed on the importance of the event.

"I just believe in the power of prayer," she said. "Any time it is praying for the country, the well-being of the children and our community, I believe it is important to be there if possible."

The Rev. Kenneth Lawson of First United Methodist Church opened the ceremony with scripture readings that included 2 Chronicles 7:14.

"If my people, who are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will help their land," Lawson read.

Other area pastors lead prayers of intercession that focused on issues that are key in so many people's lives - family, church, school, the community and the nation.

"So many people are hurting in so many different ways," said the Rev. Lee Gussler from Community Hospice. "They need to experience the love of Jesus Christ in their lives."

Next year's event will be hosted at noon, May 5, 2005, at the Ironton City Center.