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Day of Prayer to be marked in Barnesville and Bethesda

CHURCHES IN Bethesda and Barnesville are preparing to hold National Day of Prayer services this Thursday, and all community members are welcome.

The Rev. Tim Snyder of Bethesda Christian Church said he is eager for the fellowship that will occur this year.

“We’ll be meeting on May 6, that’ll be at noon,” he said.

There will be a 45-minute program, then another at 7 p.m.

“There’s not many that show up at noon,” he said. “A lot of people are working and the kids are in school. … It seemed a no-brainer to offer a second program at 7 p.m.”

The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruption in 2020, with last year’s event held outside the Bethesda Municipal Building.

“Just a handful of people attended,” Snyder said. “We were in the throes of the early stages, so a lot of folks were afraid of being together.”

This year’s event will include representatives from several area churches. It will be held inside the Bethesda Municipal Building, 112 S. Main Street.

“There’s no sermon, no lecture, no offering, no denominational issues, just a time to gather to pray for our countries, our communities, our schools, our families, our churches,” Snyder said.

The theme of the day is 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Lord pour out Your love, life and liberty.”

“This year we’ll be celebrating 70 years of prayer for America,” Snyder said, adding that the floor will be open to speakers.

“Anybody who wants to pray can pray out loud,” he said, adding he has observed new signs of life and activity this spring. “Folks want to get outside. “Numbers in churches seem to be increasing as people get their shot and feel more confident.”

Snyder said the pandemic has impacted various people differently.

“Some have said, ‘It’s no big deal, I’m going to live my life and do what I please.’ And some have said, ‘I’m not leaving the house.’ And some have refused the shots and some have had the shots early on. Some have had the COVID and were pretty miserable. Some have had it and had hardly any signs or any real sickness at all,” Snyder pointed out.

Snyder said precautions to guard against spreading the virus will be taken Thursday, adding that prayer and fellowship vital to the community.

“We’ll practice all the COVID protocols. We’ll request folks wear a mask and stay at a distance as we do at church,” he said.

“I think our nation is in great need of prayer, and God’s people regardless of their various backgrounds and denominational loyalties can agree on prayer as a source of strength individually and for our nation,” Snyder said.

The Rev. Ed Eberhart of the First Christian Church of Barnesville said that village’s churches also will be marking the day.

“We have a very active ministerial association in Barnesville, a great group of churches who work well together and we do a lot of community services throughout the year. Last year due to COVID, we had to limit that a lot,” Eberhart said.

“We’re looking forward to getting that going,” he said. “As far as the different parishioners, it’s been a tough year for everyone.”

He said many church activities in the area are resuming. He hopes for a group of 50 or more at the Day of Prayer event.

“A lot of people are at work. We do it at noon, hoping that maybe some folks on lunch break can come. It’s an outdoor event at the Veterans Plaza downtown, just a block off the center of town. It’s a great location, high visibility,” he said. “A lot of folks stroll by for part or all of the service.”

He said about six area pastors are taking part. It may also be livestreamed on the Barnesville Ministerial Association Facebook page.

“What we’re seeing in Barnesville is that people are anxious to get back to a sense of normal. Folks are looking forward to gathering again,” Eberhart said.

An additional observance will be held at 11:30 a.m. Thursday on the Belmont County Courthouse Plaza in St. Clairsville. U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, will serve as keynote speaker. Jo Ann Copeland will provide music. A Bible reading marathon will be part of that event.

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