Chatham celebrates National Day of Prayer

Posted 5/10/19

PITTSBORO — Around 20 people gathered a little after noon on May 2, standing near the flagpole outside the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

“The great commandment’s out there to love the …

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Chatham celebrates National Day of Prayer

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PITTSBORO — Around 20 people gathered a little after noon on May 2, standing near the flagpole outside the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office.

“The great commandment’s out there to love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” Chris St. Jean, pastor of Grace Family Fellowship in Siler City, said to the assembled group. “But then the second one is just like it, to love your neighbor as yourself. In the scripture, who’s your neighbor? It’s everybody. It doesn’t matter what race, nationality you are. We’re really all brothers and sisters. It’s just that sometimes we don’t like to act like it.”

With that, St. Jean called on the group to bow their heads in prayer.

The small event in Pittsboro, organized by the Chatham County YMCA, was one of thousands across the country last Thursday as part of the National Day of Prayer, a nationwide celebration of prayer and unity.

The official version of the event was authorized by law in 1952, when President Harry S. Truman signed a bill requiring presidents to proclaim a National Day of Prayer by each president at an appropriate time. In 1988, the law was amended to say the day would be the first Thursday of May.

Sarah Wright, the wellness director at the Chatham YMCA and organizer of Thursday’s event, said it was part of the YMCA’s mission to have events like this.

“We put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all,” she said, quoting the Y’s mission statement. “One of our core values that we have in the Y is faith. It’s for all. We just wanted to bring the community together and pray for our community together.”

Chatham County Sheriff Mike Roberson and some of his staff attended the event. Roberson said he felt the Y’s efforts to have this event were “a positive thing.”

“It’s a good day to think of other people, regardless of your religious background,” he said. “Loving other people and having compassion for one another is always a good thing.”

Chatham’s stamp on this year’s National Day of Prayer extended up to Washington, D.C. In a press release Thursday, U.S. Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Chatham’s representative in Congress, stated that he co-sponsored a congressional resolution to recognize the National Day of Prayer. Along with being a former minister, he serves as the House co-chairman of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.

“I cling to the promise that we find in the book of Jeremiah declaring that God listens when we pray,” Walker said. “My hope is that we would seek His divine wisdom for guidance and protection. Prayer is a source of strength and hope for so many Americans — a source we must recognize and protect. Though politics can be divisive at times, prayer should be a uniting force for Congress and for our nation.”

Zachary Horner can be reached at or on Twitter at @ZachHornerCNR.


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