By SCOTT FITZGERALD
The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan
MARION, Ill. (AP) - Up to 25 people from local home health agencies and hospices joined with nurses, holding hands May 1 during a National Day of Prayer Service at Heartland Regional Medical Center.
"They represent all those who carry healing and offer a healing touch," said Ivan Ryan, of Heartland's Chaplain Corp, who led the hospital/employees group in prayer.
The National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May. It was designated by Congress and is a day when people are asked to turn to God in prayer and meditation. This year's theme was "One Voice United In Prayer."
Prayer time during the Heartland service came under the headings of military and veterans, school/education, family, business, community, country, media, church and hospital/employees.
Chaplain Corp member Gilbert Craig prayed aloud that people working in the media practice their craft with "a sense of responsibility" and that they produce "good stories, stories of encouragement."
Chaplain Corp member Rick Stonecipher prayed aloud for communities to help "those less fortunate who need a hand up. We pray for our leaders, that they work together."
Chaplain Corp member Keith Rankin prayed aloud for veterans and those serving in the military.
"They serve in foreign and hostile lands. Some of them (soldiers) are related to us," Rankin said. "They serve as our heroes, fighting for the sake of freedom. Comfort those also who have lost soldiers in battle."
Chaplain Corp member Jeff VanDyke prayed for area businesses, asking that they provide services, products and opportunities for employment so residents can earn wages to provide for families and our economy."
At end of the service, chaplain corp member Austin Jennings asked attendees to take prayer cards and pray for 40 days to June 8, Pentecost Sunday.