Manchester church invites all to mark 40th National Day of Prayer

May 04, 1994|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,Sun Staff Writer

Manchester will observe the 40th annual National Day of Prayer tomorrow, taking its lead from Manchester Baptist Church.

"The whole idea is that we know God grants his blessings, but we can't take those blessings for granted," said Earl E. Gray Jr., pastor of the church. "We have to thank him."

Mr. Gray said he decided to take part in the activity for the first time after learning of it through the national Focus on the Family ministry based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"They are running with the ball hard on this and providing us with great ideas," he said.

The Christian Family Action Council at the Manchester church "invited everybody" -- residents and area businesses -- to join members in 15 minutes of nondenominational prayer at noon in front of the Manchester Post Office, 3100 Westminster St.

"They chose the post office site because it's off the mainstream, out of the way of traffic," said Renette Lane, postal clerk.

The gathering will take its cues from this year's theme -- "Prayer changes things." Participants will ask for God's blessing for the country, the state, the community and families.

"All citizens are encouraged to attend and join in a concerted effort of prayer, seeking God's direction for our nation," the pastor wrote in a news release issued Monday and sent to several North Carroll churches.

"This is the greatest country on Earth but we can get better if we grow in the right way," Mr. Gray said.

The church at 2933 Manchester Baptist Church Road will have an additional prayer service at 7 p.m. tomorrow. All are invited.

"The prayer will not have a Baptist spin," Mr. Gray said. "It will be direct and focused."

In Westminster, participants will gather tomorrow at the Vietnam Memorial for the city's third annual observance of the national event.

"If you can't come, pause for a moment wherever you are," said Marcia J. Reinhart, who has organized the city commemoration.

Mayor W. Benjamin Brown issued a proclamation Monday declaring tomorrow the Day of Prayer in Westminster.

Several city churches will ring their bells at noon "to remind those unable to attend the community observation to pause, pray and consider where our strength comes from," Ms. Reinhart said.

During the 30-minute service, speakers will offer testimony that "prayer changes the course of lives," she said. Students from West Middle School will provide choral accompaniment.

Ms. Reinhart notified nearly 50 area churches of the service and is pleased that Manchester is joining the celebration.

Mr. Gray called the day an opportunity "to pray especially for community. We will simply ask God's blessing to make his direction clear to us."

He added a final inducement with a laugh. "This is free. There will be no offering."

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