Prayers for those suffering at the hands of ISIS and prayers to unify our country before the presidential election will be among those said at Wilton’s National Day of Prayer event on Thursday, May 5, at noon in Wilton Library’s Brubeck Room. Lunch will be provided.

New this year will be a guest speaker who recently returned to the United States from spending six weeks in northern Iraq helping Yazidi women and girls escape being trafficked by ISIS.

It will also be the first visit to the annual event by Steve Kim, pastor of Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church; First Selectman Lynne Vanderslice, who will read a proclamation from Gov. Dannel Malloy; and fire Chief Ronald Kanterman.

According to international press reports, there are an estimated 3,500 Yazidi women and children being held captive in ISIS-held territory. Most are believed to be in Syria. More than 2,000 others have managed to either escape, were released, or were rescued and smuggled through Kurdish-held territory back to Iraq. They were taken captive in 2014 as ISIS seized control of Sinjar in northwestern Iraq. Younger women and children were abducted; older women and men were murdered.

The Yazidis are ethnically Kurdish, but their faith has fragments of Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. They believe in one god, but were labeled infidels, justification, in the eyes of ISIS, to sell the women and girls into sexual slavery or give them to militant fighters as rewards for bravery in battle. Those who refuse are often slaughtered. As many as 250 are believed to have been killed in Mosul.

The guest speaker, whom event organizer Adrienne Reedy declined to name for safety reasons, will pray against terrorism and for Christians and Muslims being killed in north Iraq. Reedy is also raising money for the speaker’s work, which includes seeking donations of sewing machines and money to buy uniforms for Iraqi schoolchildren. Anyone interested in helping or seeking more information may call Reedy at 203-451-2627.

In addition to praying for those in the Middle East, Reedy said, “we’ll be praying for our nation to be united. We may have our differences, but what makes us great is we are the ‘United’ States. With the election coming up, we are praying to continue to be united.”

Everyone in the community is invited to the event. “I’m hoping we have a packed house,” Reedy said.