National Day of Prayer, New Look For NGU
TIGERVILLE, SC (May 28, 2020) There was a different look to the National Day of Prayer on May 7, but the day's purpose remained the same — to pray for the United States of America.
As restrictions on mass gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic prevented event participants from across the country from gathering in houses of worship, North Greenville University (NGU), in partnership with HIS Radio® 89.3, hosted a drive-in event on its campus in Greer. NGU President Gene C. Fant, Jr., along with area church leaders, prayed for local, state, and national leaders, the re-gathering of churches, NGU students, the community, and all the front-line workers and families impacted by COVID-19.
"We are grateful for all our Greer partners here, especially His Radio. They have a studio at this campus that they are able to use for additional broadcasts," said NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant., Jr., in his greeting. "This is the campus where we serve our adult, non-traditional, and healthcare students. We are grateful for those who have joined us in cars and for all those joining us through Livestream."
Assistant Vice President for Greer Campus Operations and Prayer Event Coordinator Justin Pitts was excited with the outcome.
"It is disappointing that we weren't able to gather in traditional means. But, at the same time, we were presented a different avenue by which to reach even more people than we otherwise would. We are excited about the opportunity this unique situation presented us," Pitts said.
The service was transmitted through 107.1 FM station and live-streamed through HIS Radio® 89.3 and NGU Facebook pages.
Pitts said that approximately 60 cars were present in the Tim Brashier Campus parking lot, and at last count had over 4,000 views on the Facebook Livestreams.
The event was hosted by NGU's Tim Brashier Campus in Greer. The campus, named for the son of long-time evangelist, business leader, and philanthropist Dr. T. Walter Brashier, is a crucial part of both NGU’s operations and the Brashier family legacy. Dr. Brashier was very excited that the university was hosting this event.
"Even though I am unable to attend,” Brashier told Dr. Fant earlier that morning, “know that I will be joining in to pray and thank God for what he is doing in and through NGU."
The prayer leaders participating in the event included Dr. Tony Beam, senior director of church and community engagement for the Tim Brashier Campus. Beam opened the event with a prayer for the local, state, and national leaders. Dr. Travis Agnew, pastor of Rocky Creek Baptist Church and chair of the NGU Board of Trustees, voiced a prayer for the re-gathering of churches and NGU, Dr. Steve Crouse, NGU Senior Campus Pastor, led in a prayer for students, Lizz Ryals along with Rob Dempsey with His Radio® 89.3 led in prayers for our community and media, and Rev. Benny Durham, chaplain for the Greenville County Sherriff's Department and COVID-19 Survivor, conducted in prayer for front-line workers and families impacted by COVID-19.
Durham, a COVID-19 survivor, encouraged listeners to “not let the fear of this pandemic grip you spiritually, so you’re not trusting the Lord. This pandemic does not reflect the holiness and sovereignty of God. Walk in a spirit of power and not in a spirit of fear.”
Even though the look of the event was different, NGU's core value to be mission-focused remains constant. Equipping students to be transformational leaders in church and society is the university's mission and a purpose to be a light in the community.
In 1952, President Harry S. Truman signed a bill proclaiming a National Day of Prayer into law, and in 1988 president Ronald Reagan designated the event to be held on the first Thursday in May.
The annual observance is designated by the Congress when people are asked "to turn to God in prayer and dedication," and the U.S. president is required by law to sign a proclamation each year, encouraging all Americans to pray on this day.
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