Prayer Breakfast Advisory Board member Bob Skelton said after the event that he felt it was important to bring people together in the community, if just for a short time in the morning once a year, to remind them of the importance of prayer in their lives.
“I think it’s a great time for our community to rally around our mutual convictions concerning prayer in the foundations of our nation and the strength of our community,” he said.
Local leaders like Rome Mayor Evie McNiece, Rome-Floyd Fire Department Deputy Chief Bobby Bohannon, Robert Ozment, Bob Ledbetter Jr. and others offered prayers for doctors, prayers for pastors and even prayers for the business leaders of the community.
But before anyone got down on their knees to ask for help from above, prayer breakfast attendees took a moment to celebrate one community leader who has always included the ideals of faith and fellowship throughout his life. Earl Tillman briefly thanked the audience as the recipient of the 2012 Hugh Burnes Christian Service Award, which he received for his dedication to his Christian principles.
“The Hugh Burnes award was established to honor Mr. Burnes, who was kind of a model citizen who reached across the spectrum of our community and involved himself in activities from what we might say are both from the secular side and the Christian side,” Skelton said. “And Earl has done that throughout his career. He’s been a people person no matter what he did or where he was and has met needs in so many people’s lives.”
This year’s speech at the breakfast was given by Robert Reccord, the executive director of the Council for National Policy since 2009. Reccord spoke about how he feels Christianity is under attack in the United States, citing examples like the Mojave Desert cross put up in the 1930s as a memorial to those who died in combat fighting in the armed forces. That particular case involved the National Parks Service arguing that the cross should not remain because it was on public lands, and recently the case was settled out of court allowing the cross to stay put.
Reccord also cited Thomas Jefferson’s famous argument for the separation of church and state and said he thought Jefferson’s meaning behind his statement wasn’t that there should be no religion in government.
“If only our leaders would go back and read their history,” Reccord said. “Understand that when Thomas Jefferson wrote that, yes indeed there is a separation between church and state, he was responding to the Dansbury Baptists who were concerned that they might make one denomination the national denomination over other denominations. He wrote back to them saying that there should be a separation between church and state, but he meant to keep government out of the faith arena and not the faith arena out of government.”
In a Dec. 19, 2011, article from the Pew Research Center, more than 246 million Americans identified themselves as Christians as of 2010, accounting for 79.5 percent of the population of the country and 11.3 percent of the world Christian population.
Regardless of what god one might praise or what they might ask for in prayer, Skelton believes the power of prayer touches all those who truly believe in it and contains the power to, if anything, makes us feel a deeper connection to our beliefs.
“I think we need to use this as a reminder to include prayer in our daily lives,” he said.