By Lisa Dumas
Bishop David Singleton, founder of Rochester’s National Day of Prayer Initiative, said the Rochester community, along with cities across the country, will celebrate its upcoming National Day of Prayer on the steps of City Hall, May 7, beginning at 11:15 a.m.
Singleton, of the Ark of Jesus Ministries, founded the initiative in 2012.
“I went down there in 2011, and I heard there was going to be some sort of meeting at City Hall, and there was only a few people,” he stated. “Then, at 12 p.m., we crossed over to City Hall, and we prayed. And, the spirit of God met us right there. Well, I did some work between that date, and the National Day of Prayer in 2012.”
As a result, Singleton said hundreds of people showed up to the following years’ events. And, this year, he’s hoping for at least 1,500 people to attend.
“We almost made a complete human prayer circle around the county office building last year,” Singleton stated. “We missed it by about 20 feet. So, we’re looking for a minimum of 1,500 people this year.”
Singleton said he has asked community members, of all religious denominations, to assemble at City Hall May 7, for a morning of prayer.
“I’ve invited our elected and appointed officials,” he stated. “This year, our county executive is on board. Our mayor is certainly on board. The Catholic Church is on board. So many people are on board.”
Mayor Lovely Warren, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, Gates Town Supervisor Mark Assini, and Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas, as well as other county officials and legislators, are slated to attend the event.
Singleton said the plan is for attendees to join hands in prayer, creating a circle around City Hall and the Monroe County Office building, while praying about various issues which may affect the community.
“This year, we’re going to pray about the seven mountains of cultural influence,” Singleton stated. “They are, religion, government, education, business, media, arts and entertainment. The mayor’s also going to make a proclamation. A lot of wonderful things are going to happen.”
In order to prepare for the day’s event, Singleton said he spoke with several elected officials in the area, and asked with what issues they were most concerned in Rochester.
“We’re going to have a prayer agenda,” he stated. “We asked each official for the top three requests in their area. Some said our children, and public education; others said prosperity. The police said, ‘We want better relations with the community.’ We’re going to be praying over all those things that were said.”
According to Singleton, at 11:59 a.m., attendees will position themselves in the circle. Then, while churches ring their bells for one minute, and volunteers blow shofars, over 100 strategically placed clergy leaders will lead Rochester in prayer, along with the rest of the nation.
“The circle will actually go across Main St.,” Singleton stated. “I’ve already got permission to close Main St. down for 15 minutes. And, I’ve already talked to the CEO of Monroe County transit for rerouting buses for 15 minutes. We’ve also got 800 free parking spaces, for those who attend the event.”
In the end, Singleton said he would like to see the religious community come together, in support of the city.
“I believe that, if we come together, the outcome for our city will only get better,” he stated.
In addition, prospective volunteers can call (585) 340-7027 for additional information regarding the event.
“The National Day of Prayer is held on the first Thursday of May each year,” Singleton wrote in an April 23 article in Upstate New York Gospel Magazine. “The National Prayer Committee was formed in the United States in 1972. It went on to create the National Day of Prayer Task Force, with the intended purpose of coordinating events for the National Day of Prayer.”
“I just know we can do better together,” Singleton stated. “We have to move things to change.”