By Amantha Garpiel
SIDNEY — The Sidney and Shelby County community gathered to celebrate the National Day of Prayer with a prayer walk from Sidney First Presbyterian Church to the Shelby County Courthouse on May 4.
Organized by Mark Kaufman, from Connection Point Church, and numerous volunteers from the community, this year’s National Day of Prayer celebration looked slightly different. In previous years, the event was just held in the church, but this year they wanted to get the community actively involved.
“What better way to get people engaged in prayer than to let them do the praying, so that’s why we’re doing the prayer walk,” said Kaufman.
The change also included a change in time. In the past the event was held at noon which limited the number of individuals who could come out. Changing the event to 5:30 p.m. allowed for more people to come out and it allowed for families and children to join their community to celebrate the day.
The National Day of Prayer celebration kicked off with proclamations read by Shelby County Commissioner Tony Bornhorst and Vice Mayor Steve Wagner and a presentation and prayer led by Kaufman.
“And whereas prayer plays a powerful role in the lives of people of all cultures, religions and backgrounds and serves as a source of moral and spiritual guidance for millions throughout the nation,” read Bornhorst from the commissioners’ proclamation. “And whereas we unite with fellow citizens to exercise the freedom we have to gather in prayer to seek guidance, provision, protection and purpose for the benefit of every individual.”
“It is a day that transcends differences, bringing together citizens from all backgrounds,” continued Bornhorst.
This year, participants prayed for areas of the community along the walk, following a prayer guide. Each prayer “station” had a prayer ambassador, not to lead in prayer, but to invite people to pray for the area of focus. Those areas of prayer and the ambassadors were: church, Dan Cecil; family, Dan and Barb Knasel; healthcare, Traci Milanese, director of compassionate care; first responders, Chris Bremister; government, Randy Ahlers, mayor of Fort Loramie; military and veterans, agriculture, Brent Clinehens; small business, Rita Baumer, owner of Fill My Cup; education, Shavon Puckett, council of religious education; arts and media, Anne Clark, owner of All Soles Dance Studio; and industry, Christine McKenzie of Airstream.
Attendees of the event ended the evening by circling around the Shelby County Courthouse as a representation of circling all the people of Shelby County and covering them in prayer. Pastor Arthur Franklin of Upper Room Christian Center in Sidney led the closing prayer.
“Well, I think it’s wonderful that the city of Sidney is praying for our community,” said Susan Wilson when asked why she decided to join the prayer walk.
“Because we love Jesus, we wanted to be part of this group and pray,” said Chris Guey on why he joined the walk.