A group of religious leaders, community leaders and faithful ventured to the steps of the former Island County courthouse May 2 to pray and give thanks.
Approximately 50 people gathered during the traditional lunch hour to worship in a National Day of Prayer. The nearly one-hour event included singing, a color guard, blowing of a horn and, of course, plenty a prayer for virtually every aspect of life.
“It was a good turnout and a good spirit,” said Rick Karjalainen, pastor at Coupeville Community Bible Church and chaplain for the sheriff’s office and the state patrol. He was one of a number of Whidbey Island religious leaders to offer their prayers during the event.
National Day of Prayer was established in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress. It takes place on the first Thursday in May. The theme for the latest National Day of Prayer was “Pray for America,” and the official scripture is “In His name the nations will put their hope.” (Matthew 12:21), according to the National Day of Prayer website.
“This is an event that may make the difference; prayers make the difference,” Karjalainen said at the start of the ceremony. He also showed gratitude for a positive outcome for her granddaughter who was being treated at Children’s Hospital.
Various pastors and community leaders from North, Central, and South Whidbey Island prayed for seven areas that has become a tradition of the National Day of Prayer. Those areas are the nation, public officials, military, families and schools, churches and pastors, media and businesses.
“May your word by cleansing and bring peace to all of our hearts,” JoAnna Weeks said during her prayer for the media.
Jeff Humphrey, owner of Whidbey Sign Company, prayed for a blessing of prosperity during his prayer for businesses.
“I pray this year would be a banner year for the community,” Humphrey said.
In another tradition of Coupeville’s National Day of Prayer, Carl Smith was on hand to blow his shofar, which is a ram’s horn traditionally used in Jewish ceremonies such as Rosh Hashanah.
Daybreak, an Oak Harbor trio comprised of Charisse Waldron, Paula Mains and Jim Bailey, was on hand to sing several religious and patriotic songs. The color guard from the NJROTC group at Oak Harbor High School showed the American flag and the crowd spoke the Pledge of Allegiance.
Coupeville’s ceremony was one of three events that took place May 2 on North and Central Whidbey Island. Two events took place in Oak Harbor. The first to place in the morning with a prayer gathering at Concordia Lutheran Church. The evening ceremony consisted of a prayer rally at the Windjammer Park gazebo.