From the Rose Garden at the White House to small towns across America, May 3 was observed as National Prayer Day. Wilton was among them.

Prayer Day organizer Adrienne Reedy welcomed a large crowd to the Wilton Library Brubeck Room for the noon service and said this year’s theme is unity — pray for unity in America.

“Boy, does that resonate in my soul,” she said. “People turn even prayer into a political thing. And it makes me sad. I have a real burden for this state of affairs for our country. I have a real burden for the state of affairs for our town. I have a real burden for the state of affairs of our families,” she said. “We can put together all the programs we want, but I believe it is the power of God that’s what it’s going to take to bring our country together.”

“For unity, I said make it start with me,” she continued. “So today, let’s not miss the point. Even though we have specific areas of concern that impact us all — we’ll pray for those particular things — but really, don’t miss the point that it starts with me. It starts with you, as individuals.”

After the reading of the governor’s proclamation for National Prayer Day by First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice and Joan Wallace singing We Are One, 11 community members led prayers for families; people with addictions; people who have lost loved ones; people with long-term illnesses and their caregivers; people who are marginalized; the educational system; people impacted by shootings; the media and its moral compass; emergency responders; the nation, government and military; and peace in the world.
Our children
Father Reggie Norman, pastor of Our Lady of Fatima church, prayed for schools, students and children.

“We say our children are our future, and yet we argue how to prepare them here in the present,” he said. “We ask for good teachers and good administrators, and then we handcuff them and don’t allow them to do their jobs by the things that we say and do to them, blocking the lessons.”

“Our children are not the future,” he prayed, “they are the present. … We ask for forgiveness most importantly by the way we act and treat each other. Because we are the first teachers of our children, and the way we act they mimic. So when we have problems, it is not our children but us, by the example we have given them.”

He asked God to reinstill “in us the importance of our faith, reinstill in us the importance of morals, reinstill in us the importance of loving one another and not ourselves.”
Shooting victims
The prayer service is presented each year, and the subjects of the prayers are often the same from year to year. This year, however, a prayer for those impacted by shootings was added. The Rev. Dr. Hanna Massad of Christian Mission Gaza offered these thoughts.

“Our hearts are broken this afternoon as we see this spread across the country in public places and in schools, even in churches,” he said. He prayed for “comfort for the families impacted. We pray for the children, for the parents, for the uncles, for the siblings.”

He prayed for protection for the children and teachers here. He asked forgiveness because “sometimes we don’t use live bullets but sometimes we kill each other by our words or maybe the way we look at each other.”

Others who led prayers included Capt. Robert Cipolla of the Wilton Police Department, Nancy Fujii of the Family Peace Center, Walt Golembeski of Hope Church, Denise Miller of Hope Church, the Rev. Steve Reedy of Stanwich Congregational Church, Jeannette Ross of The Wilton Bulletin, Donna Savage of Our Lady of Fatima, the Rev. Ferdinand Serra of Long Ridge United Church, and Karen Williams of MMWSC.

As prayers were read, for each one acolytes lit a candle: Julie Carney, Marylynn Clune, Wendy Cozzens, Joanne Daversa, Laurie Forcade, Laura Gaus, Heidi Hawk, Whitney Janeway, Ann Roth, Kacky Theoharides, and Bob McDowell. Ushers were Pam Brown and Lisa Stevens.

Katie Nelson Troyer sang the Lord’s Prayer and a final blessing was given by the Rev. Ann Coffman of Wilton Congregational Church.

The service was hosted by Morning Meditations with Sisters in Community, a local prayer group that meets each Wednesday morning in Reedy’s home. Of the group, she said, “We pray for our families, we pray for our community, we pray for our country, we pray for our world. And let me tell you something, prayer changes things. We have found that. … We find God in our conversations. And we do believe that for such a time as this, it is important that we pray.”

After the service, lunch was provided by Megan Carey, Wendy Cozzens, Adrienne Reedy, Lizanne McDevitt, Donna Savage, Renee Walsh, and the Village Market.

Information: adrienne.reedy@gmail.com.