Mayor reflects on final prayer breakfast in office

Seymour Mayor Craig Luedeman said the annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast on Good Friday is one of his favorite traditions.

He has been committed to continuing that tradition throughout his three terms in office.

On Friday, he participated in his final one as mayor after he announced last fall that he would not seek re-election. Continuing the tradition is something that was always important to him.

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“It’s a great tradition, and the message it brings is great,” he said following the event at The Pines Evergreen Room.

Each year, a pastor from a different congregation is asked to give the message. Luedeman said that is something he has always enjoyed because he likes the different perspectives.

“Bringing new preachers here and different denominations here is neat to see how different the people are even though it’s all about the same Lord,” he said. “This has always been a positive for our community.”

Luedeman grew up attending Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour, where he still goes. Faith is a special foundation, he said, and it’s something he has turned to throughout his personal and professional life.

“It has helped me get through my 12 years as mayor here,” he said. “I think that without faith, you lose.”

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast was started years ago by the Seymour Jaycees, but it eventually ended.

Former Mayor John Burkhart started hosting it again in 1996, and it has gone on ever since.

The Rev. Dr. Jeremy Myers of First Baptist Church in Seymour gave the message Friday and talked about a recent study that showed the day was what most people said was their favorite.

He said people always talk about how great Fridays are in our culture.

“Everyone talks about how terrible Mondays are but how great Fridays are,” he said.

Myers said the day is still part of the workweek, and people like it because the weekend begins when it ends.

“It’s the gateway for the good of the weekend,” he said.

Then he asked the crowd, “What is so good about Good Friday?”

He said Good Friday is a difficult day when one thinks about what Jesus did during that time.

“He died on the cross to pay for the misdeeds of mankind,” he said. “It’s a somber occasion, but at the same time, I tend to look forward to what’s coming ahead.”

Myers said believers know that what happened on Good Friday is not the end, but a new beginning.

“This isn’t the end. I’m not one to reflect on the death and dying. I want to reflect on the fact that life comes from this,” he said. “Just like spring brings about new life and you have to put a seed in the ground for it to grow, Christ was buried and three days later rose.”

After the event, Myers said he appreciates that the tradition has continued and that people within the community express their faith. He said having political figures involved in faith is great because it can be difficult to shy away or not show what you believe.

“I think it’s great that we as a community are pretty open with our faith traditions,” he said. “We welcome that, and the mayor being involved is great.”

Myers said he also enjoys seeing the other denominations represented at the event and likes seeing other perspectives.

“It’s a very positive thing for me, and I think it is a positive thing for our community overall,” he said. “We are all different and approach things differently, but we are all represented by Christianity.”

For Luedeman, he hopes the next mayor commits to the event like he has during his time in office.

“I hope it’s something that will keep going,” he said.