Wood County joins together for prayer PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Friday, 03 May 2013 09:31
LeAnna Velasquez and her husband Jaime pray during National Day of Prayer at the Wood County Court House in Bowling Green. (Photo: Shane Hughes/Sentinel-Tribune)
Politicians and pastors and many others shared their faith publicly at the annual National Day of Prayer observance held on the steps of the Wood County Courthouse on Thursday.
"It's inspiring to know you all came here to share your faith," said Rev. Kristel Asmus, the event coordinator in greeting roughly 100 people in attendance including those on the dais.
Those attending were very pleased with the day's prayers and music provided by Abby Paskvan.
Katie Boltz of Jerry City regularly attends noting, "I love it, I come every year."
Boltz says it "Renews your faith in our whole country."
Boltz, along with her fellow church members of Christ United Methodist in Portage, also regularly reads during the Bible Reading Marathon held in the three days prior to the observance at the entrance to the courthouse.
This year, Boltz invited her friend and fellow Jerry City resident Lydia Strickland to join her. It was Strickland's first time to attend, but she says it won't be her last.
"I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's so nice to see all the people getting together and to see all the officials involved," Strickland said.
"I am so thankful for all our freedoms, especially our freedom to pray," she added.
State representative Tim Brown shared some of his faith beliefs and the freedoms we enjoy as he noted the power for him of the history of the gathering in his remarks.
"Year after year, we gather sharing in the freedom of religion. But that freedom also comes with responsibility," Brown said. "We have a responsibility to share God's message of hope, deliverance and grace."
Rather than prayer for material things or for his elected position, he said he has always prayed to God "for guidance in my life. That God leads me in his ways."
He shared an important scripture verse for him from 2 Corinthians (3:17) which reads, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." Some translations substitute freedom for the word liberty.
Pastor Larry Garzony of Rudolph Christian Church was attending the county's observance for the first time as a pastor and speaker. He shared similar sentiments.
"It's great to see everyone gathered together, especially pastors and government officials," Garzony said. "It was a very special time."
His section of the prayers was for the men and women who serve in the military. During his prayer he asked God to "protect them as they protect us." He also asked for blessings on the family of those serving that they would be comforted and assured until the safe arrival of their loved ones.
Rev. Gary Saunders, president of the Bowling Green Ministerial Association and co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Bowling Green prayed for our nation and the president.
He spoke of the "temptations of pride and arrogance" which are with politicians in Washington just as they are with all of us. He asked God for what is not humanly possible but very much achievable through divine intervention for a "melting of divisions and divisiveness," adding, "Grant them opportunities to guide our nation and give them a heart of compassion in the grips of politics."
Father Mark Davis of St. Aloysius Catholic Church led the prayer for Ohio and local governments. He noted how the people of this world don't want to be told what to do, yet the leaders step forward to govern.
"We thank you for these people willing to serve for the common good," Davis prayed.
Wood County Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn's remarks also focused on the laws and government regulations. After pointing out the volumes of countless laws and regulations at every level in government, he noted his amazement at how thousands of years prior God summed up everything in the "10 Commandments."
The sheriff said, "If we could just follow those, it would make my life much easier. We would have an empty jail and deputies looking for something to do. It was all done for us in those 10 commandments."
Wood County Prosecutor Paul Dobson led the prayer for law enforcement personnel. He noted how important it is that "they put themselves in harm's way to protect the innocent.'
For the business sector, Clint Corpe, manager of Panera's in Bowling Green challenged the business leaders referencing a scripture passage from Proverbs (16:3). He said "Commit your work to the Lord and you will succeed."
Thad Long, from the Department of Recreation and Wellness at Bowling Green State University, prayed for those in education, both the educators and the students. His prayer of thanksgiving for those who serve in education was "for their passion and their compassion."
Noting the increasing volume of bullying and violence, he asked for "peace and safety, especially for the children."
Pastor Tom Mullins of First Baptist Church in Bowling Green, asked God to help he and other pastors and church leaders to be able to show others the way of the faith noting, "Bay your church reflect the 'Light of the World' (Jesus.)"
In praying for the family, Pastor Rick Broughton of Weston Church of Christ called the family the "basic foundation of our society."  He noted the "challenging times" and the "forces at work" which are trying to disrupt family life.
He asked, "Father, draw near to those families which are torn apart."
Paskvan, who appeared at the observance for the second time said "It is an honor to come here in my home county to help spread the Gospel. It is great to be able to come here and to share our faith. It's very special.
Asmus summarized, "I enjoy working with all the pastors and government officials. It is so powerful when people in all walks of life come together in unity."

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