The city, its first responders, its leaders and its people received the combined and individual blessings from multiple area clergy members during a recent Blessing of the City, a worship service held in Spanish Trail Park to allow outdoor social distancing.
More than 20 cars, many containing multiple family members and friends, lined up to face the stage while the service was broadcast on the car radios. In lieu of “amens” when appropriate, worshipers were invited to toot their horns.
Held on the first day of spring, the March 20 event, sponsored by Destiny Worship Center, inspired Mayor JB Whitten’s opening remarks.
“Spring reminds us of the eternal cycle of death and rebirth and renewed life,” he said. “During springtime, we look for the leading of God in new activities, and ventures into new opportunities. This lines up well here in Crestview as we are ‘raising the bar’ as we pursue these new challenges.”
“Raising the bar” is the city’s 2021 motto.
The service opened with an invocation by the Rev. Mark Broadhead of the First Presbyterian Church of Crestview, followed by a scripture lesson from 2 Chronicles, 7:14 — “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” — from City Manager Tim Bolduc.
Then pastors representing some of Crestview’s many churches offered their respective prayers.
• Pastor Dr. Ronnie Beardon, First United Methodist Church, prayed for healing from the COVID pandemic and for medical professionals;
• Pastor Ray Beasley, Destiny Worship Center, prayed for the Crestview Police Department, peace in city neighborhoods, “an end to senseless shootings and an end to human trafficking”;
• Pastor Clint Nelson, Lifepoint Church, prayed for unity among neighbors, the faith community and for racial reconciliation;
• Pastor Jerry Nelson, Live Oak Baptist Church, prayed for federal, state, county and city elected officials and Godly influence on their decision making;
• Apostle Dr. Darlene Haynes-Scheuermann, senior pastor of Kingdom Life Worship and Training Center, prayed for the homeless, unemployed and those in poverty in our community; and,
• Pastor Sanford Hayes, New Life Missionary Baptist Church, prayed for our military, firefighters, city workers and businesses in our city.
Two musical interludes were performed by Leah Bolduc, a local student and member of the Destiny Worship Center’s worship band. Many of the pastors and worshipers who stood near the front of the gathering, sang along with “God keep You and Bless You.”
During his benediction, Chaplain Robb Suggs, reminded the gathering that “God begins in the home. God works from the bottom up, not the top down. We need to seize that again. We need to start again in our own hearts, our own families and our own city.”
“What a great city we live in where we can have pastors from across the spectrum praying for our community,” Mayor Whitten said during his dismissal at the service’s end.
A chorus of car horn toots heralded the successful conclusion of what the mayor and the city’s faith community leaders hope will become an annual event.