WEIRTON - Despite the difficulties faced by residents of the Northern Panhandle, there is still hope for the future.
That was the message sent out in Weirton Thursday during the observance of the National Day of Prayer, as residents, clergy and city officials gathered in front of the Weirton City Building to offer prayers for the community, the nation and its leaders.
Mayor George Kondik, in reading a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer, thanked the local clergy for their service, noting they are available for many of the community's most important events.
Bishop J.D. Wall, of Tri-State Church of God, led a prayer for the church itself, and encouraged residents to always pray for themselves and others, no matter a person's beliefs or whether they agree with each other.
"Jesus Christ is the only answer," Wall said.
The Rev. Darrell Maze, of Kings Creek Union Chapel, offered prayers for the government.
SPECIAL DAY — Pictured are some of those who gathered Thursday in front of the Weirton City Building as part of local observances of the National Day of Prayer. The half-hour event included local clergy offering prayers for the community, the nation, the military and elected officials. -- Craig Howell
Prayers for the nation's military were offered by the Rev. Peter Leonovich, of Weirton Alliance Church, encouraging those in attendance to offer up their own prayers for those in uniform, their commanding officers and their families.
"The one incredible element of our soldiers is they are so human," he said.
Leonovich said he feels having faith is important for a community, and can be the key in leading to a bright future.
Additional photos from Weirton's observance of the National Day of Prayer can be found online through our CU site.
"As long as our leaders believe, the best is yet to come," Leonovich said.
Tom Derby, minister at Colliers Way Church of Christ, prayed for the families of Weirton and other local communities, saying they can all find answers to their problems through God.
"We need so much for good mothers and fathers to bring up good, Godly children," Derby said.
The Rev. Craig Greathouse, of Family of God Christian Center, led a prayer for the community itself, acknowledging the difficulties it has faced but also noting some of the good things to take place in recent years.
National Day of Prayer is an annual day of observance when Americans are asked to take time for prayer and meditation. It was officially enacted by Congress in 1952, although observances in the United States date back to 1779.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)