Bible reading held in Seymour

Anyone who found themselves walking around downtown Seymour in recent days was blessed by the Word of God, according to one of the organizers of an ongoing reading of the Bible.

At 8 a.m. Tuesday, the first of more than 170 volunteers began the process of reading the Bible at Crossroads Community Park in downtown Seymour.

The three-day event ended at 6 p.m. Thursday. That coincides with the National Day of Prayer held at that time on the first Thursday in May of each year.

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The reading was paused at noon Thursday to allow leaders in various fields to pray for those people who serve the community in various ways.

The list includes Mayor Craig Luedeman, who read a proclamation and prayed for those in government.

Besides Luedeman, others taking their turn at the podium during the break were Gary Dyer, outreach pastor at Seymour Harvest Church and a Vietnam War veteran, who gave a prayer for military personnel, and Hywel Thomas, pastor of Seymour Harvest Church, who prayed for those in education.

Peggy Bland prayed for health and wellness, while Scott Brown prayed for the churches. Others taking to the podium during the break included Pastor Jeff Barnett, who prayed for missions; Roger Smith, who prayed for business and economy; Deb Bedwell, who prayed for social service agencies; Pastor Sondra Gentry, who prayed for racial unity; and Kris Hunley, who prayed for the homeless.

Dyer, who coordinated this year’s event, connected with 11 captains, each one responsible for finding 15 volunteers to read during a three-hour block of time. The readings continued rain or shine.

“(Seymour) Officer Tim Toborg is a friend of mine, and he helped a lot this year with the organization, but there were many others,” Dyer said.

Rick Cox, who has attended First Baptist Church in Crothersville for some time, was one of the captains. He said he met Dyer in 2004 when they went to Vietnam on a mission trip.

Cox said he wanted to participate in the Bible reading because he wanted Seymour, where he grew up, to know God.

“I think folks can forget about God and how important he is in their life,” Cox said. “We all get busy and sort of push him aside to get his work done.”

The annual Bible readings began in Seymour around 1997, but in recent years, Jackson County residents have had to go to Columbus to participate in that community’s event, Dyer said.

“Originally, Larry McCory, who has passed, told me he had a vision that Seymour would be known as ‘The city of God,’” Dyer said. “He wanted to do something that will affect everyone and bring them back to a great revival.”

At least one of the volunteer readers found reading the Bible in a public setting exciting.

“It felt amazing to take this time to read,” Cassandra Collins said shortly after she had finished up her time at the podium. “It’s a fresh air for your soul. I think that everyone in the community should know about Jesus and be blessed by this wonderful feeling.”

Across from the podium was a sign that read “Isaiah 55:11,” which explains how the Word goes out and does not return void.

“That verse says it all,” Dyer said. “This is all about winning Seymour to the Lord and his Word will never be wasted.”

Dyer said he thinks the world can use more prayer and Scripture now than any other time.

“The moral condition in the United States as a whole is declining,” he said. “All you have to do is watch the news and see news of school shootings and others. We do this to help bring morality back into the communities.”

The event was slated to end with a group of volunteers reciting the Lord’s Prayer in several different languages, including Welsh, Hindi, Hebrew and Spanish.