Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon proves to be a communal gathering
The Rev. Dr. John Younginer joked that when Mayor Lark Jones requested that he be the featured speaker for the 24th annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon that someone “must’ve of turned him down.”
Younginer, who is the pastor emeritus of Grace United Methodist Church, brought forth laughter from the crowd that gathered at the North Augusta Community Center. Others’ comments were met with nods and deep thought as he captivated the room and capped off the City’s festivities for the National Day of Prayer.
“I wanted to add my words to the Mayor’s. It says an awful lot about North Augusta; and I want to thank Lark Jones for continuing this tradition in bringing us together to acknowledge our dependence upon God,” he said. “As we offered these comments across denomination lines up here, we do become one color, one generation, one gender, one faith, one family, one people the body of Christ.”
The event featured prayers for national, state and local leaders, armed service troops, the economy and troubled times. Numerous churches came out in support of the event, which also featured music from the North Augusta High School chorus.
“The Lord has probably heard more prayers in the last two or three weeks than he has heard since 9/11,” Jones said. “I think we’ve also seen a City come together the City of Boston and my daughter lives there. ... When you can’t get through, your mind thinks of all of the bad things, and my wife and I have been overwhelmed by the number of people who have asked. She’s fine and everything’s good, but my point is that you just saw the strength of the community, and, when folks do things like this, and you feel attacked and violated, the result is the community comes together, and they’re stronger for it.
“I think that’s why we’re here. We’ve always been a proactive community with our community of churches, and we’ve been very strong. I pray nothing like that ever happens here in North Augusta, but as we’ve seen throughout the years, we’re not immune to it. And yet, I think we’ve proven we’re a strong, godly community that will survive it and grow stronger because of it.”
Following the event, Younginer reflected on being chosen by Jones to be the speaker for the event.
“I was greatly honored and flattered, every year he has someone from out of town,” Younginer said. “He’s never had a local person before, and I wondered why he would ask me. But I relished the opportunity because I love this community. I live here, and these people who come here are my friends. I’m just happy to have another opportunity to say a word to them.”
He also stressed the importance of the National Day of Prayer and the ability for churches, groups and an entire community to come together for the greater good. The gathering of reverends to deliver prayers and readings, as well as being in the audience proved to be a powerful scene.
“I’m a great believer in the fact that we need to work together and not just be separated, I think we need to do things together. I believe that’s very important to the body of Christ. This today becomes a symbol of that all across the nation, as well as in this community, and I feel grateful to be a part of it and associated with them,” Younginer said.
Scott Rodgers is a reporter at the North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since January 2013 after previously working at the Aiken Standard.
He is a graduate of Alvernia University and currently attends Drexel University.