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Have You Ever Thought … Of the Power That Comes from Praying Together?
Wiley Stephens

The Chair of the Newton County Board of Commissioners, Marcello Banes, said many days he goes in the morning to the square and prays as he walks in and around the square.  He prays for what the right direction to take in dealing with the monument in the middle of the square.  That is one issue our Board of Commissioners will probably deal with in the near future, but my comment for today is that Marcello Banes has picked the right way to start the process.  Prayer is a mighty force in granting us the wisdom we need in life.

There is an old joke that there will always be prayer in our schools as long as there are tests in our school.  What each individual chooses to do with their First Amendment Right is their decision.  And how you choose to pray is your decision.  Sunday, Sept. 10, is an opportunity for all in our community to join our prayers together as we gather at 7 p.m. on the square for prayer.

This gathering is open to people of all faiths, denominations and congregations.   Whether you are a part of a faith community or not, you are invited to come and join your fellow citizens in a time of prayer that will lift up our community.

You are invited to bring your family, your friends, co-workers and neighbors with you as we pray together and share some amazing music.  You are asked to bring lawn chairs or a blanket to sit on. 

I believe that prayer makes a difference.  I agree with what Archbishop William Temple said during World War II.  Speaking during some very challenging times for his nation, he said, “I noticed when I pray coincidences happen and when I don’t, they don’t.”  

I firmly believe that prayer makes a difference.   Perhaps the greatest difference is in how we see each other.   How we grow in our appreciation for all those that make such a difference in our community.   So was the point when Soren Kierkegaard said, “Prayer does not change God, but changes the one who prays.”

The Community Band, led by Alan Fowler, will play as we gather.  Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston will welcome us to the gathering followed by the presentation of the Colors and Pledge led by Covington Fire Department Color guard.  Lyndell Parris will sing the Star Spangled Banner.    

The first time of prayer will be led by Sheriff Ezell Brown for our Civil Servants, Military and Veterans. Teresa Mobley will sing “We Pray for Peace.” This will be followed by a moment of silence for those who have lost in 911 as well those who have lost their lives or been injured in the line of duty protecting us.  This part of the gathering will closed by Payer led by Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton and the playing of Taps.

There will be prayers for our City, County, and Judicial officials and employees as well as prayer for our School System, student, teachers, administrators and all employees. This time will also include music from Micah McKibben and music from the Martin Luther King Interdenominational Choir. 

The Reverends Wayne Rutherford, Billy Wade and Mike Wadley will be offering prayers as well as Judges Horace Johnson and Ken Wynn.  There will be prayers for our churches, pastors, church staffs and church members. There will also be prayers for our community and nation.  The Community on Our Knees will close with us singing Amazing Grace and a prayer led by Marcello Banes, the Chair of the Newton County Board of Commissioners.  

Come and join your neighbors at the Square for this very special time of prayer.

It has been my privilege for the last three years to challenge you who have read these columns to stop and think.  I appreciate your taking the time to read the columns and I hope they have made our community stronger.  This will be my final weekly column and I want to thank The Covington News for allowing me to be a part of these three years.   The media and particularly the local press are an important part of who we are as a nation and community.  I will be back four or five times a year to challenge you again.  Let us keep on working to make Covington a great place to live.