North American Division Hosts More Than 100 at Second Annual Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast

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North American Division Hosts More Than 100 at Second Annual Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast

On Jan. 16, 2020, Community members and church leaders from different faith traditions gather at the North American Division headquarters for the second annual Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast. Photo by Pieter Damsteegt

More than 100 people from diverse faith traditions attended the second annual Religious Freedom Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in North America (NAD). The event held on Jan. 16, 2020, recognized Religious Freedom Day in the U.S., and included prayer for elected officials, the community, the nation, for peace and places of worship, and for unity of spirit. Adventist, Jewish, Muslim, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and non-denominational Christian representatives offered the various petitions. Several NAD leaders participated through prayer and music.

Special greetings from the governor’s office were shared by Boyd Rutherford, lieutenant governor of Maryland. Jonathan L. Weaver, senior pastor of the Greater Mt. Nebo African Methodist Episcopal Church and social justice advocate, delivered remarks during the prayer breakfast.

This commemorative day dates back to 1786, but, said Orlan Johnson, director of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty for the NAD, “religious freedom faces ongoing challenges in current public policy debates.”

During the welcome, Johnson invited those gathered to take the time to contemplate the religious freedom we enjoy while recognizing that “preserving or obtaining this freedom for future generations should be a concern of all citizens and all government at all levels.”

Rutherford, during his remarks, talked about recent assaults on places of worship across the country. “It’s disheartening and concerning to hear of attacks targeting people because of their religion, no matter if it’s a church in South Carolina or a synagogue in Pennsylvania or a mosque in California,” he said. “We should all be willing to stand up for those who are subject to attacks, even if their views on religion are a little different from yours or mine. An attack on someone’s religious beliefs is an attack on all of us.”

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