ST. GEORGE — At the dawning of a new year, members of the faith community of St. George gathered to bring unity and prayer for the city at the 10th annual “Prayer Over the City” interfaith meeting hosted by the St. George Interfaith Council at the historic St. George Tabernacle on Main Street.
Local faith leaders offered short prayers and speeches at the noon event, which began with Heather Sorenson’s “God of Heaven” performed by the Faith Community Choir. Approximately 14 faith groups were present.
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Videocast by Melissa Anderson, KCSG and St. George News
St. George Mayor Jon Pike shared the importance of tradition and faith as he quoted the third verse of the Catholic hymn “Faith of our Fathers.”
“Faith of our fathers, we will love,” he said. “Both friend and foe in all our strife; and preach Thee, too, as love knows how, By kindly words and virtuous life.”
Pike said he was grateful for the traditional prayer event to support the city. Having people with faith within a city or nation is what makes it stronger, he said.
Community faith members focused on various subject areas and groups of people as they said prayers in support of city needs at the beginning of a new year. Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church Rev. Ralph Clingan shared a prayer to support the city and government leaders. He asked a blessing on the mayor and City Council.
“We pray Lord that you keep watch over them,” Clingan said, “that you continue to touch their hearts with your presence … Fill them with your compassion and your vision.”
Rev. Rickine Kestin of Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Church said she called upon God to support and help the homeless community within the city; especially, she said, with the addition in 2014 of the SwitchPoint Community Resource Center to help people find jobs and overcome various struggles they have in their lives.
Utah National Guard Chaplin David Jones represented the military as he offered a prayer and spoke of supporting those out fighting, as the war continues on.
“The wars are not necessarily over,” he said. “They are still being fought on battlefronts overseas, but, even more than that, these wars are being fought in people’s hearts, within their heads, and within their homes. It is with that thought that I offer a prayer on the military.”
New Beginnings Church Pastor Jonathan Hedren reiterated the same feelings for the heroes fighting to help within the community, also known as first responders. Hedren spoke generally of the attacks on law enforcement officers that have taken place within the nation and said such leaders should be treated with respect for the sacrifice they make to serve the people.
“They come calling whenever we call,” he said, “and my challenge to you this morning before we pray is this: When you hear a siren, pause and just pray for those in need. Pray for the safety of those responders that are risking their lives to protect and serve us.”
Other community faith members represented The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Catholic Church of St. George, Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church, Grace Episcopal Church, Iglesia de Dios de la Protecia of St. George, Beit Chaverim Jewish Community of Southern Utah, and Unity Center of Positive Living.
Those representatives gave prayers in support of peace, positive thought, families, students, teachers, women, heath care providers and social justice needs.
“Today we are all making a difference,” Carmella Fitzpatrick, president of Unity Center of Positive Living, said, as she spoke and prayed for women within the community.
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