[Archived from March 6, 2009]
It has become an annual tradition in Kentucky for the governor to host a Prayer Breakfast, and Governor Steve Beshear continued that tradition on Tuesday morning, March 3, in Frankfort, drawing nearly 500 constituents from across the state.
The featured performer at this year’s interfaith event was noted Jewish folk artist Dan Nichols, and he opened and closed the event with his song, “Kehillah Kedoshah” (A Holy Community). In fact, he even taught the crowd a few Hebrew words and encouraged them to join in on the choruses of that song and “Every Day/Hinei.”
Nichols and the Kentucky State University Concert Choir, directed by Dr. Carl Smith, performed several other pieces at the Prayer Breakfast, both separately and together.
When the scheduled keynote speaker, Harold Ford, Jr., got snowed in at the airport in New York and was unable to get to Louisville, Gov. Beshear stepped up to fill the gap. Quipping that he is the son of a Baptist preacher and a politician to boot, he was fully up to the task of addressing the Prayer Breakfast on short notice.
Beshear’s message was clear and direct. In these troubled times, when we are facing economic hardship and coping with terrorism, war and natural disaster, it would be easy to hide – “to hunker down and wait for change.”
But there is something in each of us that gives us the strength to get up to face each day, to extend a helping hand to our neighbors after the ice storm, and to carry on with life.
That strength, the governor said, comes from our “faith in God, faith in others and faith in ourselves” and it inspires us to take care of others.
Rather than getting hung up on the way we worship, Beshear extolled the crowd, we must recognize that “faith is the force that should unite us” and serve as our rallying cry. Faith, he continued, is what made our state and our nation strong and faith is what carries us forward in time of hardship.
He urged everyone to embrace his/her faith as a source of unity that would see us through these difficult times. “If we do this together,” he concluded, “there is nothing that can stop us.”
During the event, Gov. Beshear presented the 2009 William Cooper Faith and Community in Action Award to the Immanuel Baptist Church Ramp Volunteers. Inspired by their faith, this Lexington-based group has built and donated nearly 50 ramps to provide people restricted to wheelchairs access to their homes.
The Louisville Jewish community was well represented at the event.