Benson was up bright and early for this year’s National Day of Prayer. The sun was peeking through the clouds at 6:45 a.m., just as attendees began to arrive at the inaugural Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast, hosted inside the fellowship hall of Benson Baptist Church.
Mayor William Massengill greeted each person at the door. The event, he explained, was the brainchild of Benson Chamber President Loretta Byrd, designed to precede the town’s noontime prayer recognition in the Singing Grove and raise money for the Benson Area Ministerial Association (BAMA).
“God placed this desire on (Loretta’s) heart to put this together,” said Mr. Massengill. “I think this is a great opportunity to bring people of faith together. Some people can’t make it to the Grove because of work, so this gives them a way to participate in National Day of Prayer. Plus, what a great way to raise money for BAMA.”
“I think this is a good turnout for our very first event,” added Mrs. Byrd, scanning the room.
Area residents, town staff, elected officials and business leaders may have shown up to the church early, but the cooks showed up even earlier – assembling a buffet line of bacon, sausage, biscuits, grits and eggs.
Mr. Massengill took the stage to welcome the crowd.
“We could have stayed home and prayed by ourselves this morning, but there is something powerful when we come together like this,” he said, before thanking God for the “Benson community and what it means to so many.”
Following the mayor, Benson Elementary third-grader Ava Grace Jernigan sang the national anthem before Benson Baptist Church’s the Rev. Paul Burgess offered a few thoughts.
Pastor Shirley Blue with Bread of Life Impact Ministries provided the morning’s prayer, a lengthy dedication that touched on many facets including health, community, politics and outreach.
David Sorrell, winner of this year’s Benson’s Got Talent, performed following the prayer. His selection of music, a mid-tempo ballad, featured the chorus: If we ever needed you, Lord it’s now.
The Rev. Randy Lucas with New Life Pentecostal Church provided the benediction to close out Benson’s first Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. In the Singing Grove around noon, Benson’s National Day of Prayer recognition continued. The Rev. Jeff Person with Benson Church of God, elaborated on the message of National Prayer Day, welcoming a group of approximately 30 attendees in front of the stage. “We’re not coming here to make a political statement,” he said. “Or change the government or anything like that, because those are not the answers. We’re here today to lift up Jesus Christ. We are simply speaking life, let our words lift up to him.”
Following Rev. Person’s introduction, six individual prayers were heard, focusing on all the elements within the Benson community.
Mayor Massengill prayed for government, Pastor Ron Patton with Benson United Methodist prayed for the military, Rev. Michael Bassett with Holly Grove Advent Christian Church in Meadow prayed for public safety, local accountant Brent Honeycutt prayed for business, Rev. Burgess prayed for the education system and David Hughes with Benson First Assembly prayed for church and family.
Rev. Person said he wasn’t going to close the lunchtime observance with a benediction.
“Because that would mean this has come to an end. I want you all to keep your hearts open. Go from here and help someone, volunteer in this community and reach out to someone, get to know someone,” he said.
Courtesy The Daily Record