City’s first prayer event unifies residents who help community

Franklin Mayor Steve Barnett’s first prayer breakfast drew about 280 Franklin residents and service members early Saturday to discuss the meaning of prayer and to pray for the people in the community who work together to make city what it is.

Most of the money raised by the event will go to the mayor’s Youth Leadership Council. But some will be set aside for next year’s prayer breakfast, if needed, as Barnett said he hopes to make it an annual event. This year, Compass Park hosted the event and donated the expenses of it, including the breakfast.

Eight local ministers prayed before the crowd for different groups of people: Military men and women, educators, medical personnel, first responders, elected officials, business owners, families, and of course, preachers.

“We have a lot to be thankful for here in Franklin,” Barnett told the crowd.

A lot more people attended the breakfast than he expected in the first year, he said.

“It’s pretty overwhelming and just goes to show that people really care about our community,” Barnett said.

Pastor Doug Gray, of Second Baptist Church in Franklin, prayed for those in uniform.

“Father, we know right now that there are airmen flying in harm’s way as we speak. Father, we know right now that there are sailors sailing in harm’s way as we speak. Father, we know right now that there are soldiers and marines in foxholes and bunkers and on hilltops and on front lines who are in harm’s way as we speak. So Father, we lift them up to you in the name of Jesus and ask you to protect them as only you can,” he prayed.

Pastor Daniel Jepsen, of Franklin Community Church, prayed for the community’s schools and educators, asking for wisdom for the leadership of the school district.

“The times, they are changing. What works and what was expected to 10 years ago is completely different, and I’m glad I’m not making some of the decisions that they have to make,” he prayed. “Father, I pray that you would give them unity about the road that the school corporation should take in the various issues that are going to come before them in the next year or two years or three.”

Loren Minnix, founder and president of the local nonprofit Warrior’s Hope, served as the keynote speaker. He shared stories from his time in the military, his time as an executive at a Franklin plumbing company, and more recently, his time helping veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“There is power in prayer. God is waiting and willing and listening,” Minnix said.

“Ask,” he said.

The event concluded with “God Bless America.”

“This is exactly what our country needs. We need more prayer. We need more people helping each other. We need more prayer breakfasts just like this one,” said Donald Peek Jr., who served as the master of ceremonies for the prayer breakfast.