Approximately 1,000 elected officials, community leaders and private citizens from across the Commonwealth this week joined Gov. Matt Bevin for the 51st annual Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast at the Frankfort Convention Center.
Gov. Bevin encouraged participants “to not simply call out to God when things are great and we want to thank Him or when things are tough and we need help,” but rather to engage in “regular dialogue and relationship with Him.”
“I would ask us to remember to stay humble,” he said, “But also remember that we are called to be people of action.”
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton called on attendees “to pray for our Commonwealth, our nation, and especially for our leaders.” “My prayer is also that people who share differing perspectives can come together in a spirit of love,” she said.
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day delivered the keynote address, and Luke Hancock of the 2013 NCAA national champion University of Louisville men’s basketball team offered the message of faith. Day was introduced by Kentucky Court of Appeals Judge Glenn Acree, and Hancock was introduced by Lt. Gov. Hampton.
Lonnie and Belinda Riley of Harlan County received the 2017 William Cooper Faith and Community in Action Award—named for the late Rev. William Jefferson Cooper, Sr., founder of the Kentucky Governor’s Prayer Breakfast. The Rileys direct Meridzo Center Ministries, which has mobilized more than 35,000 volunteers since 1999, to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of Appalachian residents.
“Lonnie and Belinda are a testimony of what can happen when people live in faith, following God without reservation to meet the needs of the community and adhere to the values on which Kentucky was built, ‘United We Stand, Divided We Fall,’” said Gov. Bevin. “The Commonwealth is honored to recognize the Rileys’ serving spirit with the 2017 William Cooper Faith and Community in Action Award.”
Pastor Kyle Idleman of Louisville’s Southeast Christian Church delivered the invocation, and Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Lexington’s Temple Adath Israel shared “gratitude for the new day.” State Representatives Kenny Imes and James Tipton led scripture readings, and State Treasurer Allison Ball offered the closing prayer.
Musical guests included Iron Bell Ministry, Steve McWhirter, Joel Gerdis, and The Nale Family, and the presentation of colors was led by the University of Kentucky Color Guard ROTC.