Sixteen years ago leaders from local governments, businesses and the faith community came together for a prayer meeting, beginning a lasting tradition.
Next week, organizers expect 500 to 700 guests to gather for the 16th annual Commissioner and Mayors Prayer Luncheon. Guests will join event organizers for lunch with guest speaker Mark Rutland, author and president of Oral Roberts University, before spending time in prayer for the community.
The annual prayer luncheon has drawn several notable speakers, including Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy and former Gov. Sonny Perdue, but Rutland was the event's first speaker 16 years ago, not long after Commissioner Clarence Brown took office. At the June 21 event, he will again address a crowd of residents and community leaders returning for the final prayer luncheon before Brown's retirement.
Committee members Dan Clark and Danny Deems have been involved with the event since its inception and both spoke of the event as a source of unity for community members.
"It really just started out as an opportunity to get the business community involved with political leaders and acknowledge our need to come together and stay together on a lot of issues," Clark said. "It's a great opportunity for the community to come together and recognize we need to stay together and pray together.
"Together, we can get a lot of things done, separated we can't get much done."
The county commissioner and mayors from across Bartow are invited to attend as participants pray for guidance.
"We all want leaders who have a strong moral stance," said Deems. "It's a community-wide event trying to give the opportunity for business leaders to have time to meet with the commissioner and mayors -- and we do involve the mayors of all the cities -- to emphasize to them that there is still a strong interest in supporting good character and good citizenship."
The 16th annual Commissioners and Mayors Prayer Luncheon will be held Thursday, June 21, at 11:45 a.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at three Cartersville locations: Asher Realty, 317 E. Main St.; Arco Ideas & Designs, 212 N. Tennessee St.; and The Church at Liberty Square, 2001 Liberty Square Drive.