National Day of Prayer services scheduled
The Laurel Mountain Ministerial Association and several area fire departments are teaming up to sponsor National Day of Prayer services on Wednesday and Thursday.
Fire departments involved in the services include Saltlick, Chestnut Ridge, Normalville, Springfield Township and Bullskin Township.
The first prayer service will be at the Saltlick Township Fire Department at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The second prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, the formal National Day of Prayer, at the Bullskin Township Fire Hall. All participating fire departments will be involved in the Thursday service.
Pastor Paul Freidhoff with the Indian Creek United Methodist Church said the ministerial association discovered last year that people living in the rural communities didn't even know where the fire departments were located or who the firefighters were.
“In God we trust is more than something on a dollar bill,” he said. “We trust these people, too, and this is a way of drawing everyone together,” he said of the planned prayer services.
Paul Hammaker, chaplain for the Bullskin Volunteer Fire Department and speaker for the Thursday event, said prayer is so important.
“If you look around the nation and see what all is going on, if we don't follow in the footsteps of Christ and what he has put in front of us, things are going to get sad or sadder,” he said.
“In the department we say we look out for one another, but when the job's done, we know we were being looked out for by our Lord and Savior,” Hammaker added. “If you keep your trust in God, he's going to see us through the bad times.”
The Rev. Marvin Watson, pastor of Pennsville and Pleasant Hills United Methodist churches, said the roots of the day of prayer go far back.
“In 1863, Abraham Lincoln called for such a day, and, in 1952, Congress established the National Day of Prayer as an annual event by a joint resolution that was signed into law by President Harry Truman,” he said.
In 1988, the law was amended and signed by President Ronald Reagan, who designated the National Day of Prayer to take place on the first Thursday in May.
“I think participation in the National Day of Prayer around the nation is acceptable, but it could always improve,” Watson said.
Hammaker said organizers hope the fire halls will be filled this year.
Along with Hammaker, Watson and Freidhoff,the Rev. Randy Winemiller with the Church of God Prophecy in Poplar Run will participate in the events, and Teresa and Judy Snyder will sing the national anthem.
A 10-piece brass ensemble will be part of the evening in Bullskin, and Hammaker said refreshments and snacks will be served.
Rachel Basinger is a freelance writer.