Q and A: Putting together a day of prayer
At lunchtime Thursday, a group of Farmington residents will gather at Rambling River Park to offer up prayers. The annual National Day of Prayer event is an opportunity to create unity among people of all religions, and to celebrate community. We talked with Ann Manthey, one of the event's coordinators, to find out what people can expect if they show up.
To start with, why don't you tell me a little bit about National Day of Prayer?
Way back in 1775, that was the first call to prayer with the Continental Congress asking the colonies to pray. Then, starting in 1952, Harry Truman declared the first National Day of Prayer. Ever since then we've had an annual National Day of Prayer.
What's the idea behind it?
It is to get the nation and everyone to remember where our roots are. That God made all of us and our country and we have to give him his due.
People can go to church and pray on their own. Why do you think it's important to have a national day like that where everybody's doing it at the same time?
It helps bring everyone together. It always helps with community and prayer. Someone can pray in their own community of faith, but to bring everyone together, all faiths together. It's very strengthening to know we're all in this together. It's unifying.
You've been involved in National Day of Prayer gatherings for a while yourself?
I attended a couple and now these last two years I've sort of been the organizer for Farmington.
Why did you attend your first one?
It's something very important to me. In fact, for many years I've wanted to start organizing one of our own in Farmington and I never got around to it. So, Justine Jacobson did it four or five years ago. Ever since she started, I've wanted to help keep our community in this.
So, obviously, when you went to those first couple you found something worthwhile.
Tell me about what will happen with Farmington's event on Thursday.
We're going to be having a flag ceremony. Hopefully the VFW will be leading it as they have in the past. Then we'll have reverend Kevin Fox of Faith United Methodist leading us. There will be different pastors. I'm not sure who's coming yet, but there's seven different categories of prayer. We pray for government, our church, the military, family, education, media and business. Just specifically on all of those things. Then we'll be saying the Pledge of Allegiance. We'll start with that. Then we'll have a couple prayers and songs like Amazing Grace and God Bless America.
Have these events been pretty well attended the last few years, or what's it been like?
Sometimes better than others. Last year there weren't that many. It was a cold, rainy day last year, so that's what I'm blaming it on. This is the first time we're having it at noon, so I'm hoping more of those who work in the city will be able to come out. Otherwise at 7 p.m. they're home with their families.
Do you feel like you've got a nice event put together for everybody.
I hope so. Everyone's included.