National Day of Prayer observed today in Manatee

BRADENTON — The National Day of Prayer was observed throughout Manatee County on Thursday.

Services were held at the Holmes Beach City Gazebo, on the north lawn of the Manatee County Courthouse, at the Palmetto Historical Park and the Kiwanis Leadership Prayer Breakfast at Bradenton Municipal Auditorium.

National Day of Prayer holds a special meaning to Kiwanis Club of Bradenton president Brenda Rogers. She values the importance of being spiritually involved and is thankful for her right to publically display her faith.

“It’s an important celebration,” she said.

For 60 years, the nation has celebrated National Day of Prayer, a call to find humility and encourage one another to pray for the nation. The annual observance, held of the first Thursday of May, was enacted by Congress and signed by President Harry Truman in 1952.

Just before noon today, dozens of people gathered in front of the Manatee County Courthouse to take part in another prayer program. Seven community leaders and ministers led the crowd in prayers, with the theme "One Nation Under God."

Each prayer leader focused on one of the "Seven Centers of Power": government, military, business, church, family, education and the media. And the program closed with a rousing chorus led by singer Lori Goodfellow of "America the Beautiful" and "God Bless America."

Earlier at the auditorium, Pastor Alfred James of Mt. Carmel Missionary Baptist Church in Palmetto gave the benediction.

"It's an important day for people to reflect on where we are, wherewe've been and where we want to be. It's a blessing we're in a countrywhere we have the freedom to do this," James said.

Since its creation, the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton, which originated more than 90 years ago, has honored National Day of Prayer.

“We have a history of being involved,” said Rogers, also the Manatee County director of community services.

Several county officials, business and churches were present at the club’s Leadership Prayer Breakfast at the Bradenton Municipal Auditorium on Thursday. The morning included an opening prayer from Bradenton city council member Marianne Barnebey, a community prayer from Manatee County Commissioner Larry Bustle and a prayer for school children by Superintendant Tim McGonegal. There was also a special music performance by choir singers from various churches.

Producer, actress and casting director Nicole Abisinio, owner of Sarasota-based Gabriel’s Messenger Films, was the guest speaker. Her film company, which creates faith-based films, recently completed production of the film "The Investigator," an inspirational and true tale of a police detective who struggles with his faith.