By DON FLETCHER
News Staff Writer
There were two National Day of Prayer observances held in the city last Thursday, May 5. The second one was for the whole community; the first was for a community within the community.
More than 45 people, all but a handful of them employees of Atmore Community Hospital or one of its affiliated facilities, observed the annual day set aside for prayer with a brief ceremony on the hospital’s front lawn.
Executive Assistant Kim Himes, who organized the gathering, said the hospital had held its own observance in the past, but smaller and in an on-again, off-again fashion.
“I felt like it was something the hospital should participate in,” Himes said. “We’ve done it before, not quite this big, in the past, sort of hit-or-miss.”
A slight hitch developed when former ACH employee Marcus Moton, who was to sing after the Pledge of Allegiance, was unable to attend.
After waiting about 10 minutes for Moton, Himes grabbed her smart speaker and quickly had Celine Dion’s version of “God Bless America” wafting across the hospital grounds.
David Landis, an associate pastor at Grace Fellowship Church (who attended with his wife Debbie, a former ACH employee), then delivered the observance’s only prayer, asking for help for the entire nation and asking for safety and guidance for the hospital’s employees and its patients.
“First, I want to say how much you all are appreciated and loved,” Landis told the staff members, doctors and others. “For what you do for this community and this hospital, I just want to offer a word of prayer for you today.”
He prayed: “Jesus, who is the Great Healer, thank you for each of these men and women who have chosen to follow in your footsteps and show their compassion and their hearts through the healing ministry here.
“I pray that you will protect them, give them wisdom and give them strength. We pray for every person who works here, every patient, that today your presence would be felt, and your healing touch would come down on people in a special way.”
Mayor Jim Staff also attended the morning observance. He said there probably isn’t enough prayer to meet all the needs of the country, its population and its government leaders.
“Do we not need it?” the mayor asked rhetorically. “This country needs a National Day of Prayer every Monday morning, especially at the seat of government.”
Himes said the observance was designed to let the community know ACH was doing its part to hopefully help ease some of the problems people are dealing with across the nation, state and community.
“We want to send a message to the people of the community, that we want to pray for our country and be a light for our town.”