FREDERICKSBURG FREE LANCE-STAR, TAFT COGHILL
Clergy in the Fredericksburg area have witnessed a tumultuous past two years.
The COVID-19 pandemic left many of their parishioners hospitalized, and some died.
They saw their youth struggling with virtual learning before schools fully reopened.
Many were also on the front lines fighting against racial injustice and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
A collection of those issues and others were on the hearts and minds of ministers gathered in Hurkamp Park in Fredericksburg on Thursday afternoon for the National Day of Prayer.
The event was organized by Kavatus Newell of Zion Church of Fredericksburg. More than 50 gathered in the early session, which started at noon. A second session of praise and worship was held from 6–9 p.m.
Pastor Karen Bettis prayed for peace throughout the land.
“Answers are found in peace,” Bettis said. “Justice is rendered in peace. Love is found in your peace. Reconciliation happens in peace. We’re reloaded and rejuvenated and ready to do your work again in peace. So we thank [God] for being our peace.”
Speakers also prayed for the government, salvation, the military, education, forgiveness, health care, justice, unity, businesses, hidden figures and God’s will.
Pastor Troy Dixon of Zion prayed for the military, saying that “the freedom that we have to worship is not free. It comes at a cost.”
“God, see about those who watch over the walls for us,” Dixon said. “See about those who keep a watchful eye over the physical enemy that tries to migrate into our lives. … We thank you for those that are defending our country close and abroad and we thank you for those that have retired from defending our country.”
Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw was on hand. She was joined by U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D–7th District, and former 28th District Del. Josh Cole, who prayed for the government.
Fredericksburg City Schools Superintendent Marcie Catlett and Spotsylvania School Board representative Lorita Daniels witnessed Pastor Terry Logan pray fervently for schools.
“Teachers who feel inadequate or stressed, we pray that you will give them strength and courage and a sense of purpose in what they are doing,” Logan said.
Logan went on to pray that God will surround children with so much encouragement that no feelings of inadequacy or fear will conquer them. She asked that classrooms become a place of joy and delight for teachers and students instead of “drudgery and dread.”
She prayed for every child who has struggled learning, and that they would not become discouraged by any perceived lack of progress.
“Restore hope in situations where academic success appears to be out of reach,” she said.
Pastor Gary Holland prayed for the business community. Holland said the past two years have been a stressful time for local business owners and their customers. He added, however, that he’s thankful recovery is taking place for many.
“We thank you for the people you have brought through the storm,” Holland said. “We thank you for opening the windows of heaven and pouring out blessings that Your people did not have room enough to receive. We thank you for the growth and explosion of businesses from Stafford to Fredericksburg to Spotsylvania to Caroline to King George. We thank You that Your hand is upon this community.”
Bishop Leonard Lacey prayed for the justice system and law enforcement officers. Stafford deputy Steven Curtis was present, as were three Fredericksburg Police officers.
Curtis said he’s thankful for the support from the community during an uncertain time in his profession.
“I can’t thank the Lord God enough for the blessings and the outpouring of the spirit that’s just all over this place,” Curtis said. “It’s right here with us. It’s alive and well and it’s because you’re all here with us that I can share this as brothers and sisters in Christ. So, my thanks to all of you.”