STEUBENVILLE - Participants in Thursday's day of prayer for Jefferson County heard calls for a united voice in prayer during a 90-minute service that brought pastors and members of area churches together at the First Westminster Presbyterian Church.
"I came here today for several reasons. I wanted to see the inside of this beautiful church. I wanted to hear the Rev. Clint Quillen speak and I came to join other Christians in prayer," explained the Rev. Dan Holt, pastor of the Tiltonsville United Methodist Church.
His wife, Marty Holt, said the service, "was a wonderful opportunity to come together in prayer for the nation. Hopefully we can solve some things through prayer. And, it is nice to see pastors and other religious people come together."
A DAY OF PRAYER — Leaders of the National Day of Prayer in Steubenville Thursday afternoon joined together to pray for families, the local communities, the nation and the world. Among those leading the prayers during the service, were, from left, the Rev. Vaughn Foster of Christ’s Community Church, Don Coen of the Steubenville Serra Club, the Rev. Jason Elliot of First Westminster Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Philip Makari of the Starkdale Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Clint Quillen of Wintersville United Methodist Church. - Dave Gossett
Joshua Miller, of Toronto arrived at the prayer service the service with his son, a member of the Boy Scout Troop 401 of Holy Family Catholic Church.
"This is a chance to contribute to the National Day of Prayer. And, I am happy to be here with Christians from across Jefferson County," noted Miller.
The Rev. Jason Elliott, First Westminster pastor, welcomed the more than 100 people from area churches to the observance and said it was great, "to see the body of Christ come together to celebrate the gift of prayer."
"We come together today as one voice in our nation united in prayer. In the darkness you are our light. In our dispair you are our strength. You are the rock on which we stand," intoned Monsignor Gerald Calovini, pastor of Holy Family Catholic Church, in his opening prayer.
The Rev. Clint Quillen, pastor of the Wintersville United Methodist Church, told the people in the pews he always wanted to be a pro football player.
"I grew up in East Canton, which is about 20 minutes from the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When I was inducted into the junior National Honor Society there were posters of each inductee with the question what they wanted to do in life. I was still pretty naive as an eighth-grader. Mine said pro football player. At that point in time, I didn't realize I wasn't going to be a pro football player. It just wasn't going to happen. I later realized there are a lot of things I can't do. I can't sing and I can't play an instrument. And not all Christians are called to preach or teach or go overseas as a missionary," related Quillen.
"However, there is a calling for each of us as God's children. We are called to pray. The theme this year for the National Day of Prayer is, 'One voice united in prayer.' As Christians we won't agree on all liturgical styles, political parties or how to worship. We won't always agree on all political positions. And that is OK. We don't have to agree on politics or worship styles. But it is OK to be united in prayer. All of God's people can unite their voices in prayer. We can pray that God's kingdom will come and that God's will will be done. All of God's people can unite their voices as one," continued Quillen.
"Prayer is a calling for all of God's people. I can pray and you can pray. The gift of prayer is for everyone. God's people are all called to prayer. Most of Jesus' final hours before his crucifixion were spent in prayer. Prayer is a gift and a blessing. It is a ministry all Christians can do," emphasized Quillen.
Anita Jackson, local organizer for National Day of Prayer activities, said the community has been holding services for the past 22 years.
Participant Justin Scarpone noted the event was formerly held in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse, "until new laws said we couldn't do this in front of a government building. But now we meet in the First Westminster Presbyterian Church to pray."
Steubenville Mayor Domenick Mucci called on area residents to pray every day of the year and not just on one national day of prayer.
"We should thank the Lord and walk with the Lord every day. We need to embrace the Lord and have an understanding of the Lord," said Mucci.
The Steubenville High School Choir under the direction of Scott Wolodkin set the mood for prayers with opening songs that drew immediate applause.