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 The National Day of Prayer is an event established by Congress every first Thursday in May since 1954. In Mechanicsville, the National Day of Prayer has been a community event primarily sponsored by the Hanover Church of the Nazarene since 2008 at the historic Polegreen Church, home of Rev. Samuel Davies, one of the first ministers licensed to preach even though not a Church of England pastor in the Virginia colony. The young Patrick Henry worshipped at Polegreen Church and may have studied Rev. Davies’ oratory skills. Davies also taught slaves how to read the Bible.

 There had been a church-wide event for the NDP several years prior. Elwood “Sandy” Sanders, active lay member of HCN, decided to see if he could get the Polegreen Church site for a revival of the event in 2008. he was able to get the site and then emailed Pastor Greg Norwood. “I figured I just elected myself the co-ordinator of the National Day of Prayer at HCN!” Sandy was right; in 2008 it was primarily a HCN event. In 2009, we sought to bring other pastors and churches to help us (we got two) and did a round the clock Bible reading with one set of the Scriptures being sent to the governor of Virginia (Timothy Kaine) and another eventually being sent to President Obama. Students from Atlee Christian Academy, HCN’s elementary school, read the Bible and Rev. Gary Narron, on the staff of HCN, stayed in a RV at the site overnight to coordinate the reading. I remember well reading Proverbs outside under a metal tent during a lightning storm!

This year, we had six pastors: Rev. Lou Florio of Messiah Lutheran Church, Rev. Gary Stewart of Beaverdam Baptist Church, Rev. Jeff Brauer of Winn’s Baptist Church (a church founded on a date the founders did not at the time realize was significant: July 4, 1776), Rev. Craig Secor, youth pastor at Hanover Evangelical Friends Church, Dr. Darden Battle of Northside Baptist Church, and Cindy Smith, lay prayer minister at Mechanicsville Christian Center. We also had Rev. Rigoberto Acosta, pastor at Hanover Iglesia del Nazareno (and the Hispanic coordinator for the Virginia District for the Church of the Nazarene) who led us in a prayer in Spanish and three staff from HCN: Pastor Chip Dandridge, Pastor Dave Taylor and Pastor Jay Stargardt.

We also had several dignitaries:

Four elected officials – Delegate Chris Peace, Delegate John Cox, Commonwealth’s Attorney Ramon “Trip” Chalkley, and Supervisor Bob Setliff.

 Don Blake, Chairman of the Virginia Christian Alliance

 Missy Minton of the staff of the Historic Polegreen Church Foundation (Delegate Peace is the executive director of the foundationn so he wore two hats for this event and we thank him for ALL his assistance in this matter. He did a letter to most of the pastors in the area on the letterhead of the foundation that was cited in both the Ashland and the Mechanicsville papers.)

Finally, a special guest: Rev. Gordon James Klingenschmitt, former Navy chaplain and president of Praying in Jesus’ Name, a non-profit dedicated to securing liberty for chaplains and officials to pray in Jesus’ Name in their official duties. He spoke on religious freedom and his struggle to pray in Jesus’ Name and to assist the Virginia State Police chaplains to be able to pray in Jesus’ Name.

 The event was set for 6pm in the evening and ran for about 45 minutes. Attached to this report is the program. We had about 60 people there from several different churches and we plan to get more churches involved in 2011.

 I would recommend this for any church seeking a community outreach. If there is a NDP already, they surely need help. If not, it can be a way to reach out to other churches and get positive publicity for the church(es) leading it.

 I want to thank my “co-conspirator” (I actually called him that at the end of the event!) Brad Norwood, my lead pastor Greg Norwood (who was not there this year due to his daughter’s graduation from college!), and all those who encouraged me to continue this project. I also want to thank Don Blake for all his help. He assisted Del. Peace in securing publicity and also was able to get me Rev. Klingenschmitt at no cost. I finally want to thank Eddie Simpson, the Chaplain of the local Christian Motorcyclists Association, who not only invited Dr. Battle but also invited others from the CMA who came to help.

I can’t wait until 2011!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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