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Community gathers to 'ask for God's guidance'

Second annual Lake Country Prayer Breakfast attracts 200 people; 'We have to find ways as human beings to care for the ... local community,' says Reverend

More than 200 people gathered at the second annual Lake Country Prayer Breakfast Saturday morning at the Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club. They broke bread together and sought wisdom and guidance from God.

“It's a time for communities to get together and ask for God's guidance,” said Glenn Wagner, member of the organizing committee. “It’s a time to pray for business leaders, clergy, our First Nations and reconciliation.”

The gathering was also meant to honour people, who are in full-time ministry, said the local business owner.

“That's one of the purposes of this breakfast,” added Wagner. “And that’s why we have many of the churches in the community that participate here.”

One such clergy member was Rev. Karen Horst, of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.

“I think it's really important for us to have that common identity as Christians who care about our wider community and also the global community,” she said about attending the breakfast.

“There are a number of things that would separate us in terms of distinctions in theology, but at the same time we're all of the Lord. So we gather together to symbolize that and support one another and celebrate what we share in common rather than what divides us.”

Horst said she could see that prayers are needed for a number of issues that Orillia faces, but the one that looms large for her is homelessness.

Her prayers, she said, would focus on people who are on the streets, couch surfing and finding alternative ways to survive.

She said she would also pray for everyone in the community to provide better care to those who are really struggling for a variety of reasons.

“It's really important that we care for our weakest,” she said.

To that end, Horst said, she was there to support the awareness being spread about Building Hope through a video that played on the screen as more than 200 people enjoyed their breakfast.

Horst also said it was important to acknowledge and recognize the importance of standing together as one in a community.

“I think it's really important, especially in a day where people are growing more concerned about individual rights and freedoms,” she said. “We still find a way to be a community together. We just have to find ways as human beings to care for the greater world and the local community.”

And that can be done by not only asking God for wisdom in prayer, but also by listening to the guidance provided, said Norm Allen, who was the guest speaker for the event.

“It’s about listening to God about how to develop our characters, values, and how we would like to shape our community,” said the founder of Touchstone Ministries.

“My focus will be to encourage people to use the Lord’s Prayer as a template for thinking about our lives and why we’re here today,” said Allen, who lives in Orangeville.

Others came to the breakfast to build and strengthen relationships with neighbouring communities.

“We always build relationships and it's important for us to know our neighbours in surrounding municipalities and communities,” said Ted Snake, councillor, Chippewas of Rama First Nation. “It brings the surrounding communities together, so it's a good morning.”

He said he was looking to pray for those from his community who are no longer among their family and friends.

“Today, I'm here to pray for the people who've lost a loved one and of their health and healing,” said Snake. “And for people who are afflicted with addictions everywhere.”

Wagner said community members had shown increased interest in attending the breakfast. Last year, the committee sold 190 tickets at $20 each. This year, they were able to sell 220 tickets.

“We also have businesses that buy tables and bring their people to the breakfast to pray and participate,” he said.

Wagner said it's an event to get to know one another and to understand that God is in all of us and in everything. He said that seeking guidance was essential to leading a good life.

“Life is one big decision after another,” Wagner said. “And I think we need to have God's guidance when we make decisions.”