Coming together to pray

Published 9:00 am Monday, January 8, 2018

Government officials, faith leaders and members of the community gathered Saturday morning at First Church of God on Colby Road to start the new year with a prayer service.

The tradition was started by Winchester Mayor Ed Burtner and Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham in 2006, and ever since the two have organized the service at churches throughout the community in January.

“You may have noticed on the program that was published that there are no titles,” Burtner said. “This is not Mayor Ed Burtner and Judge Henry Branham, this is Ed Burtner and Henry Branham and this is both ordained and non-ordained individuals doing this program. I think it makes a statement that the first order of business for the new year in any community ought to be to come together and lift our voices in prayer.”

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The service featured several speakers who had been asked to pray for different members of the community. Clark County Schools Board of Education member Gordon Parido led prayers for the schools, teachers, students, administrators, staff and parents. Parido was followed by Denise Bryant, who prayed for volunteers, churches, nonprofit organizations and help groups in the community.

Todd Rader prayed for those in the courts, at the Clark County Detention Center, those who work for law enforcement agencies, EMS personnel and other first responders.

William Newell led prayers for the active and retired members of the military as well as reservists, and Ron Ingram prayed for those in distress. Elected officials, appointed officials and other civil government servants were prayed for by Farley Stuart.

Following the other prayer leaders, Burtner took requests from those in attendance for others who the community would like to pray for. Those added to the list included bus drivers, children in need, the media, health care workers, those who have lost a loved one, utility and road workers,  missionaries, parents of children with special needs, the Winchester business community, the elderly in nursing homes and people in prison.

Burtner also prayed for the enemies of those in the community.

“It’s always been a difficult passage for me to contemplate and think about in terms of being commanded to pray for our enemies, but we are,” he said.

Following Burtner’s prayer, the service was closed by Allen Hutchison, pastor of First Church of God.