National Day of Prayer: Unity celebrated at Santa Paula’s first observance

May 09, 2001
Santa Paula News

The city’s first ever National Day of Prayer observance drew over 200 people to the Santa Paula Community Center on May 3 where unity was celebrated by several speakers.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe city’s first ever National Day of Prayer observance drew over 200 people to the Santa Paula Community Center on May 3 where unity was celebrated by several speakers.Organized by the Spirit of Santa Paula’s Kay Wilson-Bolton, the breakfast event started with a musical prelude by the Valley Community Four Square Church who urged the audience to join in song. A musical tribute was offered by the Choir of St. Sebastian’s Church.The Annual National Day of Prayer is held the first Thursday in May, noted the Rev. Bob Walpole of The Life Wife Baptist Church, who oversaw the event that drew people from throughout Ventura County.“This is just wonderful,” said Phyllis Steel of Fillmore. “. . .I wish Fillmore would start something like this.”Santa Paula Mayor Don Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance after the Presentation of Colors by the 146th Base Air National Guard Honor Guard, and Lisa Anglin of Bible Fellowship Church sang “America the Beautiful.”Fawn Parish, an author and director of Prayer Concerts of Ventura County, did double duty with the invocation and later speaking on “A Matter of Honor.”
Honorary event chairman and Santa Paula Police Chief Bob Gonzales urged that those present take the National Day of Prayer 2001 theme of “One nation under God,” one “step further and pledge allegiance to our town of Santa Paula. . .we need to treat one another with dignity,” while working on “strengthening the foundation of our youth.”“I’m impressed and honored to be part of Santa Paula’s,” first observance of the National Day of Prayer, said Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks, who coupled his inspirational remarks with concerns over the creation of a gambling casino in Oxnard.Parish started her address by noting her honor of Wilson-Bolton’s “vision. . .it’s the reason we’re here,” through her creation of the local observance. Parish noted her inspirational contacts in Santa Paula, including former Santa Clara School teacher Kathleen Berkeley who proved to her that “sometimes just being kind,” can alter the course of a child’s life.Through prayer, people can support one another, said Santa Paula Elementary School District Trustee Ofelia De La Torre. “I personally need and welcome your prayers,” as she promotes clean and safe schools and protecting the constitutional rights of students. “I believe in the separation of church and state,” she noted, and told how, “typical Santa Paula acts of kindness” have benefited youth.Keynote speaker Rabbi Samuel Oppenheim from the Messianic Synagogue in Upland spoke on “The City on the Hill,” complete with religious song telling of God’s promises to those who embrace Him.The Rev. Jose Vindel of El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church in Santa Paula, who also serves as a Santa Paula Fire Department Chaplain, conducted prayers for those in leadership roles.Eric Barragan, administrative aide to Supervisor Kathy Long read the Unison Prayer written by the Rev. Billy Graham. Barragan noted he felt moved that many community members and leaders were present to “share in a spiritual moment together with no segregation, no denominational walls and complete harmony. If we could only live our lives in this town, like we experience this morning, Santa Paula would truly be a piece of heaven!”

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