Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast tradition continues

As the new mayor of Seymour, Matt Nicholson was looking forward to hosting his first Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast this month.

For 24 consecutive years, it has always been a time for city officials, clergy, business leaders and others in the community to gather for a Good Friday message and enjoy each other’s company.

But then the novel coronavirus, which triggered the COVID-19 pandemic, put an end to all gatherings and quashed what has become a well-attended and loved tradition in Seymour.

Nicholson decided even though it couldn’t be exactly like it always has been, he still wanted to do something publicly to mark the occasion. So, with help and participation from some friends and community members, he put together a video.

The 2020 Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast video is available for public viewing on the City of Seymour, Indiana (City Hall) Facebook page.

It starts out with a brief introduction from Nicholson and segues into the Pledge of Allegiance led by Jackson County Council member Brian Thompson and area scouts.

Nicholson thanked the late John Burkhart for starting the prayer breakfast when he served as mayor and former mayors Jim Bullard and Craig Luedeman for continuing the tradition.

“Today, I am tasked with continuing it in an odd way via video,” Nicholson said.

Pastor Scott Brown from Reddington Christian Church provided the invocation.

“We remember today the pain and suffering of the cross and all that Jesus was willing to endure so that we could be set free,” he said. “He paid the price. A tremendous sacrifice to give us the gift of eternal life. Help us to never take for granted this tremendous gift of love on our behalf. And help us to be reminded of the cost of it all.”

Jennifer Hopkins of Seymour sang “Scars” by I Am They and a previously recorded video of the Lutheran Men’s Chorus was included.

Pastor Joseph Barlau of Redeemer Lutheran Church gave the Scripture reading from Romans 5:1-11.

Redeemer Pastor Andrew Currao delivered the message for the first time, based on the Scripture reading, speaking of the hope God’s word provides and how it is relevant and applicable during the COVID-19 situation.

“Some people have come up to me and said ‘Hey Pastor, do you think that this COVID-19 is a punishment from God on our world, on our nation, on our state, on our community,’” Currao said. “Everything that we go through, everything that happens to us in this world God ultimately is using it for our good.”

God’s law and Gospel are what people need to hear always, he added.

“No matter what the circumstances, no matter what the century, no matter what we’re going through,” Currao said. “The good news is that God, out of grace, sacrificed his only son for the souls of the whole world, so that whom so ever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.”

Currao said with Jesus at the center of our lives, we will get through suffering, sickness and death.

“We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God,” he said. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings because suffering produces endurance and endurance produces character and character produces hope.” Father Dan Staublin of St. Ambrose Catholic Church gave the closing prayer.