Residents invited to celebrate prayer day

Gatherings, rallies slated throughout Carroll today as part of national event

May 02, 2002|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

From sunrise to sunset, Carroll County residents will have opportunities today to join the country in the National Day of Prayer, an annual event whose theme for its 51st year is "America United Under God."

Marcia Reinhart, a Westminster resident who is coordinating the state's events, expects large crowds and many petitions for the nation's safety because of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

"The only way God is going to heal our land is if we humble ourselves and pray," she said. "We need to do more than say `God bless me' at mealtime."

Reinhart's day will begin with a prayer breakfast in Annapolis and a stop at the Bible reading marathon that began Sunday in front of the State House.

She then will travel to Washington for a noon service in the House Caucus Room. She hopes to be back in Westminster for an evening service.

"I will be praying a lot all day and spreading myself thin," she said. "But I am really serious that 9-11 was a wake-up call. Driving around with bumper stickers that say `God bless America' is not enough. We have to actually pray for God's blessing on our country."

In Carroll, observances will begin at 7 a.m. with the third annual county sheriff's prayer breakfast at Wilhelm Ltd. Caterers in Westminster. Initiated by the chaplain for the Sheriff's Department and the detention center, the breakfast draws law enforcement and criminal justice officials and corrections officers.

Two noon prayer rallies are scheduled - one on Main Street in Hampstead, and one in Westminster, where several hundred people are expected to meet at the Vietnam Memorial on Willis Street. Many area pastors will lead the petitions, and the Homeschool Choir will sing.

For those who want to combine exercise with the event, Betty Rhodes has organized a prayer walk at Watkins Park on Route 27 in Mount Airy. Walkers will gather at the park pavilion at 1 p.m. for a brief service, then follow a path to 10 stations, each marked with a poster. The signs - decorated in red, white and blue - will contain a Scripture verse. Each will ask for prayers for a different cause, such as government, firefighters or the military.

"We are expecting several hundred people, and I think it has a lot to do with the September 11 events," Rhodes said. "People have seen how vulnerable we are as a nation. We must pray for blessing and protection."

At 7 p.m., worshippers will gather at Westminster Senior Center on Stoner Avenue for a service planned for young people. UnKnown, a band popular with area teens, will perform, Reinhart said.

At the same hour, a group plans a prayer rally at South Carroll High School in Winfield.

Information: 410-857-1701.

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