NEWBERRY — President Ronald Reagan said that if we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
Sharing this common ground, community members and churches came together May 1 for the National Day of Prayer. The event was celebrated in Memorial Park.
Newberry High School’s JROTC presented the colors, followed by prayers for the government, military, healthcare workers, schools, churches and families.
“It is an honor to pray publicly for our nation and country,” said Chief Deputy Todd Johnson.
Speaker David Parnell asked for God to help government make decisions to benefit the nation and to allow the peace of mind to allow the nation to avoid unnecessary evils.
As a retired military chaplain, Army chaplain and now the chaplain at Newberry College, Ernie Worman referenced a quote from Martin Luther King that said the strength of a nation is in the well educated, not a well-armed militia.
“I lift up every institution of learning, whether it’s a school building, or on a class trip,” Worman said, “so that we may glorify you (God) in our learning.”
Michael Whitesides, pastor at Glenn Street Baptist Church in Newberry, said what he enjoys most about National Day of Prayer events is that all artificial lines are dropped between denominations and churches.
“All too often we get competitive and we forget we’re all on the same team as Christians,” Whitesides said. “Here we can just come together to seek God’s face.”
The event between local churches started six years ago, Whitesides said, apart from last year when it did not happen.
Andrea Hawkins, Outreach Coordinator with First Baptist Church in Newberry, helped organize the event last week, sponsored by the Reedy River Association.
“It didn’t happen last year, but I plan on keeping my feet wet so we can keep it going for years to come,” Hawkins said.
Days of prayer such as this one have been around since 1775, when the Continental Congress designated a time for prayer in forming a new nation.
The National Day of Prayer was established officially as an annual event by an act of Congress in 1952 and was signed into law by President Truman. In 1988, President Reagen amended the law, designating the first Thursday of May each year as a National Day of Prayer.
The event is not just for Christians, as the government-proclaimed day is offered to all Americans, no matter their religion, to celebrate their faith through prayer.
More information can be found at www.nationaldayofprayer.org.