Local names will headline the annual National Day of Prayer observances Thursday in Aiken, Augusta and North Augusta.
Whether people gather at courthouses, businesses or other centers, it is a day for the country to unite in prayer on behalf of society and governmental agencies and their leaders, organizers say.
The theme for the 49th annual event is Pray2K: America's Hope for the New Millennium.
Richard Church, executive director for Aiken County Habitat for Humanity, will address a prayer luncheon at noon at the Aiken Municipal Building conference center in the Alley in Aiken.
Music will begin at 11:30 a.m.
The luncheon is free, but seating is limited. For information, call (803) 648-7068.
Mr. Church settled in Aiken four years ago after working in various countries for the United Nations for 25 years. He helped develop foreign economies to improve standards of living. His last post was Gambia.
In Augusta, Mayor Bob Young will be the featured speaker at a breakfast at the Sheraton Augusta Hotel, 2651 Perimeter Parkway, at 7:30 a.m.
Tickets cost $15, and reservations are due today. For information, call 722-8693.
The mayor will read a proclamation on the steps of the Municipal Building, 530 Greene St., at 12:05 p.m. Dr. Frank Page, pastor of Warren Baptist Church; the Rev. Anthony Holland, retention coordinator at Paine College and pastor of Strong Tower Christian Fellowship; and the Rev. George Lauderdale of the Augusta School of Biblical Studies will lead the prayer.
A color guard from Fort Gordon will also participate in the ceremony.
The Rev. Kenneth L. Nelson, associate pastor of St. John's United Methodist Church in Aiken, will speak at the North Augusta Community Center, 400 E. Buena Vista Ave., at 6:45 a.m.
Tickets cost $8 in advance and $10 at the door. For information, call (803) 441-4290.
The Rev. Nelson, the fourth of five children, spent most of his early years in the Epworth Children's Home in Columbia. An honors graduate from Newberry (S.C.) College, the Rev. Nelson was student body president at Duke Divinity School, where he earned a master of divinity degree.
The National Day of Prayer dates to the Continental Congress of 1775, which called for prayer for organizing the new government. Congress passed a joint resolution, signed by President Truman in 1952, establishing an annual observance.
Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336.