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Published: Friday, 5/7/2004

Thousands in Toledo turn out to pray on official national day

More than 3,500 people from all branches of Christianity attended a "Heal Our Land" rally last night at SeaGate Centre. The gathering included prayers led by an ecumenical cast - the Rev. Jim Bacik, of Toledo's Corpus Christi University Parish; the Rev. Tom Fraser, of First Alliance Church; the Rev. Helen Brown, of Trinity Faith Tabernacle, and the Rev. Marilyn Schroeder, of Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

Messianic Rabbi Kirt Schneider blew a shofar horn to open the evening rally, and music was performed by a mass choir and the local Christian rock band Indy United.

Yesterday morning, the 15th Annual Business and Community Leaders' Prayer Breakfast drew a sold-out crowd of more than 850 people to Gladieux Meadows banquet hall in South Toledo.

"Father, we thank You for the community in which we live and its government," Mayor Jack Ford intoned, reading a prayer. "We hold up in prayer before You the men and women who are in positions of leadership and authority."

The main speakers were psychologist and author Dr. Tom Barrett, of Colorado, and Washington insider Ron Ralston.

Other local events included a speech by Alan Keyes at Cornerstone Church and midday prayer ceremonies at the Oregon Municipal Complex and the Bedford Township office.

President Harry Truman declared the first official National Day of Prayer in 1952, and President Ronald Reagan signed a law in 1988 declaring the first Thursday of every May to be the National Day of Prayer.

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