Christians from throughout Montgomery County gathered on the lawn of the Historic Courthouse in Hillsboro on Saturday, Sept. 26, as part of the National Day of Prayer and Repentance.
The local prayer gathering was one of many held throughout the nation, in solidarity with the annual prayer march led by Rev. Franklin Graham in Washington, DC.
The two-hour long march progresses from the Lincoln Memorial to the steps of the U.S. Capitol, with participants pausing at specified locations throughout the route to silently pray for specific points: praise and thanksgiving, repentance, security of the nation, spiritual and physical health, healing of division, strength for the church and the nation’s leaders.The locally organized prayer gatherings follow the same structure of praying for preset points.
While Saturday’s prayer gathering was organized and hosted by Southside Church of Litchfield, religious leaders from churches throughout the county were in attendance to pray over the county and the nation. Each spoke briefly (approximately five minutes) on their specified point before leading those gathered in prayer.
Speakers included, Retha Corso of Southside Church, Nathan Diveley of Southside Church, Kevin Simburger of Southside Church in Hillsboro and Awesome Power Team in Coffeen, Ryan Schaffer of Living Stones Church in Litchfield, Breck Nelson of First Baptist Church in Hillsboro, Jack Wetterlin of St. Timothy United Methodist Church in Litchfield, Curt Watkins of Southside Church in Litchfield, Ed Fogel of Calvary Baptist Church in Hillsboro.
Also, Father Dan Willenborg of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Hillsboro and Holy Family Catholic Church in Litchfield and Matt Ferguson of First Presbyterian Church in Hillsboro.
Event organizer Ingrid Watkins opened the prayer gathering, and closed it by thanking the speakers and attendees before leading those gathered in the Lord’s Prayer.
There were approximately 70 people gathered around the south steps of the old courthouse; some attendees stayed in cars and set up lawn chairs on the corners of Main Street to maintain social distancing precautions. Attendees wore masks throughout the outdoor event.
Watkins thanked the county for allowing the churches to gather at the old courthouse. The venue was a last resort after being denied use of public space by both Litchfield’s and Hillsboro’s governing bodies, a precautionary response related to the current COVID-19 guidelines set by the state.