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News > Commentary - National Prayer Breakfast brings service members together for strength
National Prayer Breakfast brings service members together for strength

Posted 2/9/2012   Updated 2/9/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Air Force Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Clouse
673d Air Base Wing chaplain

2/9/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and members of the Senate and House of Representatives established the Presidential Prayer Breakfast on the first Thursday of February.

From its inception, the National Prayer Event has been celebrated annually in Washington by the president, congressional members, local business leaders, student leaders and international dignitaries.

Since the 1980s, the event has been held at the Washington Hilton on Connecticut Avenue.

The National Prayer Event is not intended to focus on one particular religion - main speakers have varied over the years and come from Jewish, Muslim and Christian traditions.

Instead, it is a time for key leaders to join in support and prayer for the nation, as well as for national decision makers who carry heavy burdens.

Though originally begun as a prayer breakfast, the National Prayer Event now includes breakfasts, lunches and dinners hosted in nearly 200 countries.

The U.S. military has regularly participated in this international prayer tradition.
Though our missions and scheduling do not always allow the event to occur on the historical event date, we maintain this prayer tradition during the same calendar year.
We assemble as service members, intentionally looking beyond our own capabilities and towards the transcendent for guidance and blessing.

In such dynamic times as the present, this event continues to be a testament to our continued reliance on the transcendent to help order our steps as a nation.

Chaplain Corps members from the Army and Air Force, active-duty, Reserve and National Guard, proudly join together to lead our community in voluntary prayer.

The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson 2012 National Prayer Breakfast will be hosted Feb. 22 at 8 a.m. in the Arctic Warrior Event Center's Susitna Room.

Breakfast burritos will be provided starting at 8 a.m., followed by the prayer program at 8:30.

Donations will be accepted for our volunteer cooks' organizations, the Top 3 and Rising 6.

This year's main speaker, Chaplain (Brig. Gen.) Howard D. Stendahl, joins us from the United States Air Force Chief of Chaplains' Pentagon Office.

As the Deputy Chief of Chaplains, Stendahl assists the chief of chaplains in establishing guidance on all matters pertaining to religious and moral welfare for Air Force personnel and their dependents.

The chief and deputy chief are responsible for maintaining a trained, equipped and professional Chaplain Corps of more than 2,200 chaplains and chaplain assistants from both active and Reserve components.

As a member of the Armed Forces Chaplains' Board, Stendahl and other members advise the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on religious, ethical and quality-of-life concerns.

Stendahl entered the Air Force in 1985 from the civilian pastorate.

Chaplain Stendahl will speak on "resilience in the community of faith."

So mark your calendars and plan to participate in this proud tradition of faith and prayer. For information, contact the Chapel Center at 552 4422.

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