"Mayor: Stevensville will participate in National Day of Prayer" -- by Michelle McConnaha, "Ravalli Republic" Newspaper, April 18, 2014 7:53 pm
The National Day of Prayer, designated by the U.S. Congress in 1952, is an annual day of prayer held on the first Thursday of May. “Several years ago, it was popular for many towns to make this proclamation – even Missoula did - but participation has dropped,” said Clay Freeman, coordinator for this year’s activities and the police and fire chaplain for Stevensville.
Activities sponsored by Stevensville, the American Legion Fort Owen Post No. 94 and the Masonic Lodge No. 28 include three events focused on prayer. St. Mary’s Historical Mission will have open prayer in the chapel from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with guided prayer time at noon. That evening at the Senior Center there will be a dinner, program and prayer.
St. Mary’s chapel was chosen because it is a non-denominational location where all faiths can feel welcome. “It is strictly a historical society, not controlled by the Catholic Diocese,” said Freeman. “When they donated it to us for the day - they are giving us the use of the chapel and will conduct tours on the rest of the grounds. They could lose money that day - a loss of potential donations since they exist on donations. They are being a blessing to us and we say thanks.”
At noon there will be a time of focused prayer - an interfaith congregational prayer service. Prayer will be focused on local, state and federal topics. “In our noon corporate prayer time at the Mission, Dr. Charles Alkula, who was a Navy chaplain, will cover the federal prayer time; Fred Thomas, Republican state senator, will cover state; and Bill Gragg will lead prayers focused locally as an American Legion representative,” said Freeman.
At 6 p.m., there will be an event at the Senior Center, 100 Mission St., which includes a dinner and a program, at no cost. Freeman describes the planned activities.
- “The Master of Ceremonies will be Kim Bowman, grand master for Montana.
- The Bitterroot Boy Scouts will do the Posting of Colors, the pledge, and lead us in the Star Spangled Banner, then, a national prayer lead by retired judge Ed Sperry.
- “We will enjoy a spaghetti dinner then, music by a bluegrass gospel group called Sonshine. The congregation will sing “Faith of our Fathers,” and we’ll have a state prayer by Steve Clevidence of the Masonic Lodge.
- “Our guest speaker will be Scott Gragg, assistant coach of the University of Montana football team. - Then we’ll introduce local officials, such as the mayor, have a local prayer lead by yours truly and we will close with the singing of ‘God Bless America.’
- We’ve scheduled a full evening and were going to make it all fit in an hour an a half.”
- A free-will offering will be collected, with all funds going to help the Genesis House - a home for women with psychological or emotional needs.
A banner announcing the observance of the National Day of Prayer was hung over Main Street on Thursday.
The Stevensville National Prayer Committee is comprised of co-chairs Joel Foster and Ed Sperry, Kim Bowman, Bill Jette, Bill Gragg, Jeff Strait, Bob Handley and Clay Freeman. For further information, contact Clay Freeman, police and fire chaplain for Stevensville, at 370-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year the theme of The National Day of Prayer is “One Voice, United in Prayer” based on Romans 15:6 - “So that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” For more information visit http://nationaldayofprayer.org/.