Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Alex Ross 

Praying in Havre for unity in the nation


Havre Daily News/Ryan Welch

Charlotte Gwynn, with her hands raised, sings along with the band Thursday during the National Day of Prayer event in Havre.

Pastors from churches in the Havre area called for unity, especially among Christians of different denominations, and for a national religious revival Thursday on Town Square during the National Day of Prayer.

The event, hosted by the Greater Havre Area Ministerial Association, was one of many across the nation, including 18 throughout Montana

Karey Kohlman was on Town Square as churches handed out free food before the collective praying began at noon.

Kohlman, who attends Havre Assembly of God, said that every year she tries to come to the event with her husband and friends to pray that the nation and its leaders do what is right for the people.

"That is what Christians do, they pray for people and stand up for what is right for the people," she said.

A joint resolution passed by Congress and signed into law by President Harry S.Truman in 1952 called for the president to set aside one day a year "other than Sunday" aside for a National Day of Prayer. The law was amended in 1988 and designated the first Thursday in May a National Day of Prayer.

Every year the Day of Prayer has a main theme for Christians around the country to focus on when they come together to pray. The theme was unity this year.

Leaders from different churches briefly spoke and led a series of prayers for unity in America; among different Christian denominations; in the family, workplace, cities and communities; and among all people, as well as for a clear united vision for a great spiritual awakening in America.

"We want to be able to go down the street and be able to be honored by each other as brothers and sisters of Christ," Pastor Chad McKenzie of the Hi-Line Church of the Nazarene said in an opening message to the crowd.

He said that he recently saw an example of the nation's political divide on a Facebook thread where one person wrote that people who support President Donald Trump are "part of the problem." A few comments down on the thread someone else wrote the exact same thing about people who support former President Barack Obama and the Clintons.

McKenzie said he hopes people can move beyond labels of political affiliation and specific church and instead, be marked by the love they have for each other.

Tim Maroney, deacon at St. Jude Thaddeus Church, spoke about unity among all people.

He said there are times when, because of his ego, perceptions and opinions, he refuses to recognize God's presence in other people.

He said people need to recognize God's presence in other people as well as in themselves.

"When God looks at the world, I am pretty sure he doesn't draw borders," Maroney said. "When God looks at the world, I am pretty sure that he desires for us to embrace one another in loving kindness."

Jamie Stoll, associate pastor at Havre Assembly of God, said many divisions exist in society.

"It's easy to find points of disagreement, but it is difficult to find points of agreement," Stoll said.

He added that a Christian has an obligation regardless of any differences of opinion with another person, to make every effort to make peace with them so that it is God that receives glory and not thoughts of self-righteousness.

Pastor Mac McGraw of Van Orsdel United Methodist Church spoke about the need for unity among Christians of different denominations.

Havre Daily News/Ryan Welch

Larrie Halverson, in the cowboy hat, listens to Chad McKenzie talk Thursday during the National Day of Prayer event in Havre.

McGraw said being united can be easier said than done, as there are differences of opinion among people even within his own church.

People may not agree, but need to figure out how to agree to disagree so that everyone can move forward without a mindset that everything "has to be my way or the highway," McGraw said.

Pastor Brian Barrows of Abundant Life Ministries, the master of ceremonies at the event, said he often hears from visitors who are surprised by how well the churches of different denominations in Havre work together.

Pastor Tanner Howard of First Lutheran Church spoke and led a prayer for unity in families, the workplace, communities and cities, and said the crowd was a good example of that unity.

"I love that we can gather here as different people from different backgrounds and slightly different political affiliations and still gather to pray and praise God in this way," he said.


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