‘It’s Always Our Move’

Local Residents Take Day To Pray

Posted: May 3, 2013

Elkton residents (left to right) Pam McDaniels, Debbie Harlow, and Paul and Linda Guenther participate in Elkton’s National Day of Prayer observance on Thursday. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Trent Day offers a prayer at the Elkton observance. (Photo by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
The Rev. John Sloop speaks during the National Day of Prayer observance at First Presbyterian Church on Thursday. “We are, as a culture, enabling the moral erosion of our nation,” Sloop admonished the group. (Photo by Candace Sipos / DN-R)
ELKTON — Elkton residents sat arms folded, heads bowed as an American flag flapped in the cool spring breeze in front of a majestic green mountain background Thursday evening.

“The father said where two or more are gathered in his name and we ask for something, we can have it,” Trent Day told community members who had joined in Elkton’s Ace Hardware parking lot for the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer to give thanks and ask for blessings.

But they weren’t the only Americans gathered in God’s name Thursday.

“There are prayer sites all across the country doing this very thing,” said Patti Meadows, who organized the event through her church, Faith Alive Fellowship, where her husband, Don, is a pastor.

The National Day of Prayer, created by a joint resolution between Congress and President Harry S. Truman in 1952 to encourage personal repentance and prayer, is observed every year on the first Thursday in May. Each year, the president makes a proclamation encouraging Americans to pray on that day.

Meadows said she wanted to make it a community event so Ace was perfect, as it sits right off the highway, near the Elkton Area Community Center, a major town crossroads.

“God tells us many times through his word to ask,” Meadows said. “It’s always our move.”

So, she made her move and invited community representatives to speak and lead prayers requesting blessing, leadership and guidance in different aspects of American society.

“We need you in the schools of this land,” Bertie Hughes, a retired schoolteacher, prayed. “Leaders of tomorrow are being trained in our schools today.”

Mayor Roy Gene Davis prayed for the nation’s leaders: “We pray for them regardless of their belief or nonbelief.”

A few miles west, the Rev. John Sloop, who’s retiring at the end of the month, led his last National Day of Prayer message as the senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church on Court Square in Harrisonburg before a stream of local leaders prayed for the community.

Sloop warned the crowd: He wouldn’t start off his sermon lighthearted as usual. 

“I’m in a serious mood tonight,” he said. “I want to talk about sin.”

He discussed a number of topics, ranging from abortion to homosexuality to the Tilted Kilt opening in Harrisonburg. But the overarching message was this: “We have experienced in the last decades the death of truth.”

“We are, as a culture, enabling the moral erosion of our nation,” he said, laying much blame on pastors and churchgoers who have succumbed to the “sleeping sickness.”

“We’ve been afraid to take a stand,” he said. “Tonight, I’m calling on us to wake up.”

Contact Alex Rohr at 574-6293 or arohr@dnronline.com

Contact Candace Sipos at 574-6275 or csipos@dnronline.com

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