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Devout crowd ushers in Day of Prayer on Whidbey

Carl Smith and Bonny Halstead blow shofars, or ram’s horns, during a National Day of Prayer ceremony Thursday at the Island County campus in Coupeville. Nearly 100 participated in the event.   - Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times
Carl Smith and Bonny Halstead blow shofars, or ram’s horns, during a National Day of Prayer ceremony Thursday at the Island County campus in Coupeville. Nearly 100 participated in the event.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen / Whidbey News-Times

Nearly 100 people in Coupeville took time out  Thursday afternoon to pray on a wet and breezy Whidbey Island day.

They spent their lunch time praying and singing at the Island County campus in Coupeville to participate in the National Day of Prayer.

This year’s ceremony brought a mix of prayer and patriotism as people offered up prayers about everything from public officials, to the media, to families and schools while taking time to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and sing the National Anthem.  A NJROTC color guard was on hand to display the American flag.

“I think prayer is the backbone of our nation,” said Josh Wenzak, a university student who helped organize previous National Day of Prayer events. “I take the privilege of praying for it seriously and with honor,” he said.

Wenzak delivered the benediction that concluded the National Day of Prayer event.

Thursday’s National Prayer Day marked the 61st year of the event and the ninth time it’s taken place on Whidbey Island.

Dave Engle, associate pastor at Living Hope Foursquare Church, offered a prayer of repentance where he lamented that the country created idols to other gods, abandoned the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman, increased abortion and focuses on being politically correct rather than speaking words of truth.

“We are sorry as a nation and we are sorry as a people. We seek your forgiveness,” Engle said during his prayer.

Various leaders throughout Whidbey Island attended the Coupeville ceremony. Along with several pastors were such elected officials as State Rep. Norma Smith and Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard along with  firefighters and police officers.

Sailors from VAQ 129 at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station volunteered to participate along with Navy chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Jon Rozema, who  recited the Prayer for the Military.

Oak Harbor resident Carl Smith and Greenbank resident Bonnie Halstead blew shofars at the beginning of the ceremony. The shofar (a ram’s horn), harkens back to the Old Testament and Abraham’s near sacrifice of Isaac.

The Coupeville ceremony wasn’t the only event held throughout Whidbey Island Thursday.

In Oak Harbor, National Day of Prayer ceremonies took place at Concordia Lutheran Church and Windjammer Park gazebo, among other locations.

 

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