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Group marks National Day of Prayer with weekend of worship, music

In a time with so much conflict in the world, it seems more people are taking time out of their schedules to stop and take a moment to reflect and to pray.

Pray for not only families, friends and neighbors but the country as well. May 7 marks the National Day of Prayer. It is a day recognized by the United States Congress as a time when people are asked to unite and to pray for the country. While the day will be observed by many nationwide, a group in Sandpoint is turning the entire weekend into a time of prayer, learning and worship

Heather Bennett, a director of Casting the Vision, a local Christian artists’ agency founded by Sandpoint couple Kevin and Michelle Merwin, said the National Day of Prayer is an opportunity to unite not only the country but the community of Sandpoint as well.

“We are hosting a Unity Concert to bring churches together to worship on May 9, and leading up to the event is the National Day of Prayer on May 7,” said Bennett. “There will also be a business conference at First Christian Church called Advance Sandpoint on May 8. It is an excellent simulcast with internationally recognized leaders like author John Maxwell and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.”

Others included in the panel of 10 who will address the more than 80,000 attendees taking part in this event in more than 600 cities and 20 countries are golfer Jack Nicklaus; Liz Murray, the subject of the film “Homeless to Harvard” which depicted her journey to a successful Harvard education after becoming homeless at age 15 when her mother died of AIDS; and Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Bennett has attended the conference and said the information she gathered was extremely useful to her.

“Advance Sandpoint was an energizing, positive influence in my journey both professionally and personally,” said Bennett, who works for the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce. “The internationally known speakers were above the top and provided a consistent message on how to be a servant leader, which is something our world needs now more than ever.”

Some of what is taught at the conference include improving the relationships among co-workers, learning the qualities of successful leaders and the tools for developing one’s unique gifts for leadership.

The events will culminate on the evening of May 9 with a Unity Concert at First Christian Church in Sandpoint.

“The Unity Concert is an alternative music concert with a message of hope, love and unity,” Bennett said.

Performing will be Broken Together, a local band which plays Christian rock and pop with a hint of blues. The band, started by drummer Kevin Merwin, is made up of local talent with more than 50 years of combined experience in music. The band’s vision is to draw people closer to their faith through worship.

The band first played together at a funeral for Roberta Bostock, the mother of Broken Together’s bass player Casey Bostock. After the initial unconventional introduction into the music community in Sandpoint, the band has visited several Sandpoint area churches and leads them in worship through music.

Also performing at the Unity Concert will be Pastor Nick Higgins from Hidden Valley Worship Center and Justin Cordle, the lead singer for the We As Human, a Christian rock band.

Contact correspondent Patty Hutchens by e-mail at pattyhutchens@yahoo.com.

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