Impending rain didn’t deter more than 100 Christian believers from gathering on the Richmond County Courthouse steps at noon on Thursday to observe National Day of Prayer.
The theme this year was “Pray for America,” in light of recent tragedies across the country such as the Boston bombing and the Texas fertilizer plant explosion.
U.S Representative Richard Hudson (NC-08), who apologized for not being able to be present for the gathering, issued a statement in observation of the National Day of Prayer.
“Today, millions of Americans will come together for the 62nd Annual National Day of Prayer,” said Hudson. “Our nation faces many challenges, and today we unite to give thanks for our blessings and freedoms, and also to ask for guidance, protection, and peace. The theme for this year’s Day of Prayer is ‘Pray for America,’ so let us pray for our men and women who serve, and for their families who sacrifice for the safety of our country; let us pray for the Americans affected by the senseless tragedies that have fallen upon our nation; and let us pray for the future of our free and prosperous nation. Through our faith and fellowship, America will remain a defender of liberty and beacon of hope for all.”
The Cordova School students lead the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “Stand By Me.”
Rev. Jerry Turner gave testimony to his faith by sharing the story of how he fell off the roof of his house.
“I fell 32 feet and shattered my legs,” said Turner. “Some people said that was the wrong way to land, but any way is the wrong way to land. The EMS came to get me and I nearly died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. But it’s because of you that I’m here today, because of the power of your prayers.”
Turner said prayer came from all over Richmond County, and even from outside of the state. He said he received letters from places like Mississippi. After 26 screws in his legs, 2 rods in each leg, and 5 surgeries in the past 2 years, his wife said he walks “funny” but Turner is “walking without crutches.”
Richmond County Sheriff James E. Clemmons Jr. read scripture as well, and said that, “We in Richmond County will stand for prayer, will open with prayer and will close with prayer.”
Robbie Stewart said, “Every day should be a day of prayer” before a flock of white doves were released and flew several loops overhead before leaving over the buildings of downtown Rockingham.
Richmond Raiders Baseball Coach Ricky Young introduced baseball player Drew Butler, 17, who spoke on his strong faith and how he allows God to guide him through baseball and life. Butler said he turned to God when choosing a university and chose Campbell University because it is faith-based.
Rev. Jerome Tomblin, a traveling prophet, lead a prayer in which he asked God to shield and protect armed forces protecting us, which echoed the theme carried out in several prayers.
Last year’s event was sunny and warm, but this year rainclouds swirled overhead and a cold wind blew through downtown Rockingham. A Hamlet Police officer draped his coat around a shivering woman and many hoped it would not rain. No drops fell during the hour-long ceremony.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.