Annual event gives citizens opportunity to collectively pray for Clark County
VANCOUVER — Area residents, elected officials, first responders and business owners, among others, gathered Thursday morning at The Hilton in Vancouver for the 16th annual Clark County Prayer Breakfast.
Pastor Bill Ritchie, founder of Crossroads Community Church, was the master of ceremonies for the event.
According to the event’s promotional literature, the Prayer Breakfast is intended to inspire “Clark County residents to honor, encourage and support each other.” This is done through local residents and organizations “honoring, thanking and praying for our community leaders, and those that serve and protect us.”
The theme of this year’s Prayer Breakfast was “Making a Difference,” and the various presentations and addresses all were related to that theme.
The event opened with a dance presentation by several students of Groove Nation Music and Dance Academy.
At the breakfast, several local religious leaders were on hand to offer prayers for the community and Clark County.
The presentation of the colors was presented by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Color Guard, and Sheriff Chuck Atkins led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Vancouver police officer Ray Reynolds sang the national anthem.
Heidi St. John, a founder of the local nonprofit Firmly Planted Family, spoke on behalf of the event’s platinum sponsor U.S. Digital.
St. John encouraged the audience to pray for Clark County, and said that change would only come if they lived their lives following an example made by Christ.
“We’ll never make America great again apart from the love and saving grace of Jesus,” St. John said.
Representatives of the local group Flash Love, which works with local youth to help the community, led the audience in recognizing and praying for local leaders, business people, first responders, teachers, church leaders and entertainers.
The Prayer Breakfast also recognized an honored citizen for their work in the community of Clark County. This year, Joanne Kendall, founder of the local homeless outreach organization Open House Ministries, was given the honor.
After a short video that described the history of Open House Ministries, Ritchie said “Joanne is a class act.” Kendall humbly thanked all in attendance for their support and recognition.
Once Kendall was honored, Larry Whittlesey, the national director of the U.S. Mission Network for the YMCA, delivered the keynote address. His address was designed to inspire the audience to turn to God and look for ways they could make an effort to make a change in their community.
Whittlesey said that the choices people make determine if they will have an influence on the community. “We choose whether or not we’re going to make a difference,” Whittlesey said.
The event concluded with a benediction, and Reynolds closed the Prayer Breakfast with a heartfelt rendition of “Amazing Grace.”