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National Day of Prayer event held on the steps of Jonesborough's old courthouse

Zach Vance • Updated May 5, 2016 at 5:53 PM

The Rev. Vincent Dial stood atop the steps of the Washington County Courhouse in downtown Jonesborough on Thursday as people of all faiths gathered to bow their heads and pray as part of a National Day of Prayer event. 

“I think the reason it wasn’t as big as it has been was because of the weather. But still, people came and withstood the cool air,” said Dial, who heads the Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association. 

Despite the chilly temperatures and gusty winds, about 20 men, women and children of all ages huddled around the steps for the event sponsored by Dial’s association. 

“Yeah, (we’re) working in conjunction with city administration and everything. This is all volunteers. Just like everyone else, we asked permission to use the courthouse steps,” Dial said after the event. “And this is what happens, we’ve been doing this for several years now. The turnout has been wonderful — even today.”

Dial said he hopes to eventually see more young people come to the event.

“Of course, today kids are in school and young adults are working,” Dial said.

The Jonesborough Area Ministerial Association consists of eight churches and focuses on uniting different denominations, which is similar to the National Day of Prayer’s purpose: gathering people of all faiths to pray for the nation. 

“Being a part of JAMA has really been a wonderful experience ... to see how different men and women of various denominations can come together and, not bicker over denominational doctrine and theology, but to focus on that cross and Calvary,” Dial said. 

The event had 12 speakers, with each saying a separately themed prayer. They included prayers for Thanksgiving; family; the town of Joneborough; the state and nation; and the education system. 

Jeremy Dykes, pastor at Jackson Park Church of the Brethren and one of the speakers, said it was fitting to see members of different denominations praying together because his church’s theme this week is “One in Worship.” 

“We’ve heard people talk about how special it is to be able to come here on the courthouse’s steps, to speak God’s truth and be able to pray to him, and it’s just a blessing,” Dykes said.

A prayer service was also held at the Carter County Courthouse in Elizabethton on Thursday. 

The National Day of Prayer has occurred on the first Thursday of May since it was created in 1952 by a joint resolution of Congress and signed into law by President Harry Truman. 

Email Zach Vance at zvance@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow Zach Vance on Twitter @ZachVanceJCP. Like him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ZachVanceJCP