‘Joy in the City’ prayer breakfast set

Event open to people regardless of beliefs

On the National Day of Prayer, Americans will gather in groups across the nation to pray. In Altoona, people are invited to start the day by attending a prayer breakfast.

It will be held from 7 to 9 a.m. May 2 at The Casino at Lakemont Park, 300 Lakemont Park Blvd.

The cost is $20 a person. A table sponsorship is $300 and includes eight tickets. For tickets, visit www.leadersoffaith.org/event/

2019-altoona-prayer-breakfast.

The idea for the inaugural Altoona Prayer Breakfast was initiated by Mayor Matt Pacifico. It will be hosted by the Blair County Pastors Network with the expectation that it will become an annual event.

The network consists of a group of 25 to 30 pastors and others who meet Sunday mornings to pray, and Pacifico sometimes joins them.

“It is so encouraging to see so many pastors coming together to pray for our city,” Pacifico said.

The idea for a prayer breakfast arose from Pacifico attending the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast a few years ago.

“I thought that would be something amazing to have in Altoona,” he said. “So the idea for the prayer breakfast came from witnessing the work that God is doing in our city through all of the pastors that gather each week and pray.”

Pacifico said he contacted former state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr. to assist with the planning because of his involvement with organizing past Commonwealth Prayer Breakfasts.

“He was immediately on board,” Pacifico said.

Pacifico then contacted Pastor Richard Cox, a organizer of the network.

“He went and recruited several other local pastors who have all been so passionate about making this event so special,” Pacifico said.

The theme for the breakfast is “Joy in the City.”

It is based on the Scripture found in Acts 8:8 — “And there was great joy in that city.”

Cox, who is pastor of Overflow Church, said the verse has been a re-occurring theme with the network pastors, who celebrate what God is doing in the area.

Stephanie Shirley, owner of Bennis Public Relations in the Harrisburg area, is facilitating the event. She worked with Eichelberger when he was co-chair of the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast.

Shirley, who is originally from Hollidaysburg, said the Altoona Prayer Breakfast is open to people of all faiths and no faith, Democrats and Republicans.

“You don’t have to be a Christian, she said.

Speaking at the event will be Damian Williams, CEO and co-founder of the Leadership League in Pittsburgh.

Leadership League is a growth development firm that serves leaders in business, sports and ministry. Cox said it has many different facets, including a travel agency, leadership training, speakers, programs for youth and Legends (Steelers) Pittsburgh Cruises.

A time set aside to seek God will be the focus of the breakfast.

Five local representatives from different sectors of the community will lead the attendees in prayer, Shirley said. They are business, church, education, government and media/arts/entertainment. Following those prayers, people at the individual tables will be invited to pray out loud for those sectors.

Cox said those attending the breakfast will be challenged to come together with others in their workplaces and set aside time to pray for the city.

He said the goal is to call Christians to a season of prayer and to join God in his work.

“There is so much that God is doing in our city, so I think it’s important that we celebrate that by gathering and praying for that work to continue, and for more people to just say ‘yes’ to God,” Pacifico said.

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