Muscogee County Jail Chaplain Neil Richardson said Sheriff Donna Tompkins reached out to him and other staff members telling them the beginning of a new year is a great time for a spiritual renewal.
“She said it was an opportunity to gather people in the community together to pray for the community,” Richardson said.
And that is what happened Thursday morning at Evangel Temple on Veterans Parkway in Columbus.
At the Sheriff’s Prayer Gathering, members of the faith community sat at tables eating lunches prepared by HoneyBaked Ham Company, discussed challenges facing the city, talked about the responsibility of the faith community, and prayed.
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Speakers besides Tompkins were Rev. Chuck Hasty of Grace Presbyterian Church, Chief of Corrections John Fitzpatrick, Rev. Paul Thomas of Evangel Temple and Rev. Reggie Williams of South Columbus United Methodist Church.
“We pray for protection and guidance in our community, pray for the leaders of our community and pray for the community itself,” Richardson said.
There was much talk of how the faith community can be a part of the solution to city problems with people at each table taking notes.
Tompkins held such a luncheon last year at Fourth Street Baptist Church. She wanted to do one early in 2018 and hopes to do another before the end of the year.
“I believe in the power of prayer,” Tompkins said.
She said people have told her more prayer was needed, that everything else has been tried.
“I think prayer should not be the last thing we do but the first. Prayer should not be a last resort,” Tompkins said. “We want to give honor to God.”
Asked about bringing members of the faith community together for the purpose of helping the city, the sheriff said, “I think there is power in that.”