‘Prayer Over the City’ lifts up community from many viewpoints

ST. GEORGE — Approximately 150 people attended the 12th annual “Prayer Over the City” Saturday, where community members and leaders of diverse faith traditions came together for a “lifting up” of concerns facing our cities and country, while praying for a peaceful and blessed 2017 for all.

The Rev. Jimi Kestin of the St. George Interfaith Council and co-pastor of Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship welcomed the attendees at the Delores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center on the campus of Dixie State University.

“The historic Tabernacle is setting a new scaffolding record,” Kestin joked, alluding to the change of venue for this year’s event. “We have members of over 15 different faith groups represented today who will be helping us kick off the year in community unity – not based in uniformity but based on our love for the city and community that we share.”

Reverend Michael Chamness of Shephard of the Hills United Methodist Church speaks at the annual "Prayer Over the City" Saturday at Dixie State University. St. George, Utah, Dec. 31, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News
Reverend Michael Chamness of Shephard of the Hills United Methodist Church speaks at the annual “Prayer Over the City” Saturday at the Delores Doré Eccles Fine Arts Center on the campus of Dixie State University. St. George, Utah, Dec. 31, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

Other members of the council were just as enthusiastic.

“I think it’s great,” St. George Interfaith Council secretary Tim Martin said. “Pastor Jimi Kestin started this about 15 years ago with just a small handful of people, and I was one of those people, and about 10 years ago we made it an interfaith event and moved it into the Tabernacle.”

The St. George Interfaith Choir under the direction of John Ribera opened the service with “Homeward Bound.” St. George Mayor Jon Pike addressed the gathering, saying it was his privilege to attend.

“This has got to be perhaps my favorite event of the year. So this year, we get to do two of them,” Pike said, referencing the day’s event being held on the last day of 2016 and last year’s being held on the first day of the year.

“We are beyond fortunate. We are beyond lucky,” Pike said. “We are blessed …. I can’t help but think that part of that is because of today and what we will be experiencing. Because we are calling down blessings from God.”

The lineup of spiritual leaders and representatives was diverse. Each faith group chose a particular subject to lift up in their prayer or offering to the group. The gathering heard from the following:

  • The Revs. Jimi and Rickene Kestin, Solomon’s Porch Foursquare Fellowship.
  • The Rev. Ralph Clingan, Good Shepherd Presbyterian.
  • Marlene Deal, webmaster for the Interfaith Council.
  • Daniel Neville of the 222nd National Guard Battalion, St. George.
  • Russell Cashin, Free Spirit Community.
  • Rabbi Helene Ainbinder, Beit Chaverim Jewish Community of Southern Utah.
  • Carol Drake, St. George Catholic Church.
  • Michael Cruse, Unitarian Universalists.
  • Nancy Ross, Community of Christ.
  • Robert Jensen, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Pastor Jonathon Hendren, New Beginnings Christian Fellowship.
  • Pastor James Hetrick, Community of Christ.
  • Carmella Fitzpatrick, Unity Center.
  • The Rev. Michael Chamness, Shepherd of the Hills United Methodist Church.
The St. George Interfaith Choir performs at the 12th annual "Prayer Over the City" Saturday at Dixie State University. St. George, Utah, Dec. 31, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News
The St. George Interfaith Choir performs at the 12th annual “Prayer Over the City” Saturday at Dixie State University. St. George, Utah, Dec. 31, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

After a closing number by the choir, retired Baptist minister the Rev. Alex Wilke offered the benediction.

“Where many souls are united together and asking for God’s help in our various faith traditions,” Pike said, “we can’t help but receive those blessings of the community, and I love when we do that.”

Email: rwayman@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews | @NewsWayman

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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