October 13, 2015
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Values in forefront of National Day of Prayer
John Howell
FINDING PURPOSE: Ilena Matos, a member of the Lighthouse Christian Church, speaks about discovering the Lord during National Day of Prayer ceremonies on the steps of City Hall. Beside her is Peter Forsstrom, retired from the Warwick Fire Department, who was master of ceremonies.

The focus of the National Day of Prayer celebration on the wet steps of City Hall Thursday was more on what went unsaid than what was talked about. It was on the power of prayer and also on national values, an issue that has come to the forefront with the court order to remove the prayer mural at Cranston West and, more recently, the questioning of whether a World War I veterans monument in Woonsocket is appropriate because it is on city property and bears a cross.

“We are fighting wickedness in high places,” Larry DeNofio of the Apponaug Christian Academy told the gathering carrying umbrellas. He said drugs and immorality are destroying families and called for the renewal of “a right spirit within us.”

Mayor Scott Avedisian led the group of about 50 in the Pledge of Allegiance. He stayed for the full event that included songs performed by Apponaug Christian Academy students and an open microphone session where those felt led to speak were welcome to give their remarks.

Ilena Matos, a member of the Lighthouse Christian Church, spoke about how her life has changed now that she has found Jesus Christ.

Gail Fracassa, principal of the Apponaug Christian Academy, spoke of how Christians are a minority, yet “it’s a minority praying for a majority. Christians must do it, our God is more powerful than others.”

Lu Ann Perkins, who organized the event, centered her remarks on love.

“Let God’s love rain down on us,” she said. She urged people to share love and make this a better place.

“Let’s teach our children there’s nothing wrong with love and being loved,” she said.

Speakers touched on state and city government, children and families and police, firefighters and the military. Peter Forsstrom, retired from the Warwick Fire Department, served as master of ceremonies. In his benediction, he called on God.

“We need you,” he said, “or this community won’t survive.”

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