Rochester’s National Day of Prayer Initiative (NDPI), founded by Ark of Jesus Ministries Bishop David Singleton in 2012, will again celebrate its upcoming National Day of Prayer on the steps of City Hall, May 5, beginning at 11:15 a.m.
Over 450 people attended the event last year, according to officials, and organizers expect a larger number of participants to attend the ceremony this year.
“I’m expecting a greater number of people to attend this year,” Singleton stated. “I do know that people came from as far away as Syracuse and Buffalo last year, and I do know that people will be coming from as far away again. I also had one person call me, and tell me they’d like to attend from as far away as South Carolina.”
Singleton said the group’s main focus will be to bring the community, and churches of all religious denominations together again this year. And, although the initiative did not meet last year’s goal of forming a prayer chain around City Hall and the Monroe County Office building due to a lower event turnout than expected, he said NDPI planned to reach its goal by the group’s 2017 event.
“Last year, the intent was to make a human prayer chain that encircled both the county office building, and city hall,” Singleton stated. “We were not able to close Main St., which was part of the objective to do it, because we did not have the numbers. This year, we did not even apply to close Main St., because I don’t have an idea of what the numbers will be. But, I do expect greater numbers and, by God’s grace, in 2017, I believe I’ll have a much stronger sense of what our numbers will look like.”
Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester Police Chef Michael Ciminelli, and Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo, are among the local officials Singleton said will be attending the event.
And, similarly to last year, Singleton said NDPI has asked the officials to identify the top three issues they have been most concerned with in Rochester.
So far, he said, the issues have been shared.
“Many times, some of these things overlap,” Singleton stated. “Most folks are concerned about the violence. Most are concerned about educational outcomes. Some are concerned about police, and community relations. Some are concerned about jobs coming to our area. There are just many things that overlap. In fact, that’s what the prayer agenda will be comprised of Thursday, for everyone who attends.”
According to Singleton, NDPI’s prayer agenda will focus on prayer requests from community leaders, such as the following top three requests he received from Rochester City School District Deputy Superintendent Dr. Christiana Otuwa:
“Students’ health and learning; that God will give us examples of teachers and paraprofessionals who care for our students, like they were their own children; and for God to provide great leaders for the leadership of the school district,” Otuwa submitted.
In addition, organizers said this year’s theme will be, “Wake-up America, and Unify!“ mirroring the theme for the National Day of Prayer, which will be”Wake-up America.”
The ultimate goal of the celebration will be to unite the community, Singleton stated.
“As a take away, I would love for participants to experience this coming together,” he said. “If we could at least put down all of the things that we allow to separate us unnecessarily, and come together on the big issue, that we need God to intervene in all our affairs, because we can’t do it all by ourselves; we would come together, and be instrumental in the change we would want to see.”
New to the event this year will be Rabbi Jim Appel, from the Shema Yisrael Jewish Synagogue on Winton Rd., Singleton said. Appel will speak in honor of the anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.
“Rabbi Appel will cover that matter, in hopes that it will never happen again, to any people,” he stated.
Lastly, Singleton said it is the responsibility of the community to come together in support of its city and county leaders.
“I hope that we will at least come together, and under the common banner of Jesus being lord, on behalf of our community,” he stated. “The scripture tells us we are to pray for all men, and those who are in authority. The Bible says these people are ministers, and that He ordains that whole process. And so, we have a responsibility, not so much to fight against them. And, I understand differences in people, and thought. But, I believe our responsibility to pray for them transcends whatever side of the line they’re on. That is the counsel of scripture. This event is designed to be decisive, not divisive. It is practical, not political.”
According to Singleton, there will be no fee for the event, and participants will not be required to register.
Interested individuals may visit http://arkofjesusministries.com/for additional information regarding the event, and http://www.nationaldayofprayer.org/ for information regarding the 2016 National Day of Prayer.