Local Day of Prayer event set May 5 at Donner Park shelter house

Columbus resident Pam Hull began attending the annual local celebrations of the National Day of Prayer in 1997 when a friend invited her. Ever since, she has prized the togetherness she has seen there amid a mix of denominations and doctrine.

“I believe the National Day of Prayer is an important yearly event because it’s the one time when Christians can come together in unity, no matter which church we may be affiliated with, worshipping the Lord and publicly praising his name for all the world to see.

“And there’s no better time than the current culture we’re in where the church needs to have unity.”

Hull has been a part of the local gathering’s seven-member planning team since 2018. That group has arranged to return the gathering, dating to 1992 on the City Hall steps, outdoors for the first time in more than 20 years.

The event, open to all, is planned at 6:30 p.m. May 5 at the Donner Park Shelter House, rain or shine.

“That way, if there are any (last-minute) restrictions, it shouldn’t affect us at all,” said Pastor Adam Carrigan of the local Bethel Baptist Church and the event emcee. “Everybody can spread out or mask up as much or as little as they please. Because there’s plenty of space there.”

A musical worship group from Ogilville Christian Church will lead singing.

The national day, ever since Congress enacted it in 1952, always is marked on the first Thursday in May. Late Garden City resident Jean Bunton launched the local celebration as a way of bringing various churches together — important since the final prayer of Jesus before going to the Cross was for unity of his followers.

In the first few years of the local event, as many as an estimated 1,000-plus people, including students from two or three nearby schools, would gather at noon at Second and Washington streets and pray for everyone from local and national government leaders to media to judges to law enforcement. In later years, a public, three-day Bible reading marathon would lead up to the day.

Last year, the first such public gathering since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 80 people, both masked and unmasked, attended at The Commons. Afterward, a few attendees mentioned that they hope to see the gathering regrow its attendance.

The Scriptural theme this year is from Colossians 2:6-7: “Worship the Lord who has established us.”

Carrigan said prayer at the event will focus on seven different biblical passages that refer to how God has established believers. Those seven points refer to being established in: love, truth, peace, righteousness, wisdom, faith and holiness.

Carrigan hopes the new setting itself will help attract people who perhaps never have attended before.

“We’d like this to avoid being a closed-off, secluded, isolated thing, but instead something that everyone can easily see and spontaneously join in,” he said.