Leading in prayer, unity

Published 11:02 am Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Community members and leaders in the Farmville area gathered to pray and unite with one another during a National Day of Prayer event held in front of the Prince Edward County Courthouse Thursday.

Speakers during the event included Pastor Bill McIntosh from New Life Community Church, Town Manager Gerald Spates, Town Mayor David Whitus, Vice Mayor A.D. “Chuckie” Reid, Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV, Perry Carrington, Farmville Fire Department Chief Dean Farmer, Farmville Police Chief Andy Q. Ellington, Naval Officer the Rev. Sherri Garrett, Marv Fisher, pastor of Calvary Chapel Farmville, Jerry Todt with New Life Community Church, Jenny McIntosh with New Life Community Church, Jason Mattox, owner of Uptown Coffee Cafe, Dr. Betty Lou Weaver with New Life Community Church, Jordan Howell with New Life Community Church, Cody and Savannah Huddleston with New Life Community Church and Commonwealth’s Attorney Megan Clark.

Participants sang “Amazing Grace” and “How Great is Our God” while live music played.

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Presidents issue proclamations annually to observe National Day of Prayer. The concept is not new, with days assigned to prayer and meditation going back as far as President John Adams and proclamations by the Continental Congress under George Washington.

Whitus spoke about the importance of unity in the United States. “Wouldn’t it be great if Farmville led the way in unity?” Whitus said. “I think we are well, well, well along the way in doing that, in unifying our community.”

Town Manager Gerald Spates led a prayer before Vice Mayor A.D. “Chuckie” Reid prayed for community leaders.

“Help them to lead and govern with respect and guide them toward the right track,” Reid said.

Reveley spoke about the town’s background in the Civil War and Civil Rights.

“This is a place that knows what it means to have leadership forged in reconciliation,” Reveley said. “This is a place that knows how important education is.” He prayed for area preschools, county public and private schools and the area universities and colleges.

Garrett prayed for members of the armed forces who are either currently deployed or have returned with visible or invisible scars. “We pray, God, that you will touch each man and woman in the Army, in the Air Force, in the Coast Guard, in the Navy, in the Marines and the National Guard, father, that you would give them wisdom and discernment in all of their doings,” Garrett said, “as a reminder that we stand for liberty and justice for all.”

Clark prayed that God would give people peace and the drive to do good. “No matter what people may call you: Jesus, Yahshua, Yahweh, we know that we are all calling on you,” Clark said, “and for this community we just pray for a spirit of kindness, that no matter what people are going through, no matter what people may be thinking, no matter what conflict arises, that we just have a spirit of kindness so that we can do what we are called to do by you.”

Jenny McIntosh with New Life Community Church said the church organized the event. McIntosh said prayer has shaped the United States and communities large and small, and she said she and Bill McIntosh wanted to find a way to bring the Farmville community together in a similar way.

“Today we joined with thousands of other towns across the nation,” McIntosh said. “We believe that God’s Word is true: ‘Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.’” (2 Chronicles, Chapter 7, verse 14).

“National Day of Prayer was an amazing day for Farmville and the nation,” Bill McIntosh said. “I am so proud to live in a town where the community leaders understand the power of prayer and the importance of us gathering together as a people of faith. I believe our prayers today will impact our town greatly. We need God’s continued hand of protection and blessing to accomplish all He has destined us to do. The best is yet to come for Farmville.”

John Hogge, information technology specialist from Longwood University, said the event offered a chance for different people in the community to unify for a common goal. “It was great because it gave an opportunity for leaders to come from all over the community to come and pray about the things that have divided us in the past,” Hogge said.

Jason Mattox, owner of Uptown Coffee Cafe, prayed for area businesses during the event and said the event brought people from different ages and races together in a unique way. “We had folks from all walks of life,” Mattox said. “I thought it was great, very well attended and thought out. I hope to see it again next year.”