By Susan Zuidema
The energy was high as people connected for the 4th annual Brantford Civic Prayer Breakfast on May 10th. Nearly 200 guests packed out the room at the Best Western conference centre with Phil McColeman (MP-Brant), Will Bouma (MPP-Brantford/Brant) and his wife Joni attending along with seven city councillors headed by Jan Vanderstelt, representing Mayor Kevin Davis. Also in attendance were Geoff Nelson, chief of Brantford Police and Anna Everett, deputy fire chief.
The City of Brantford Parks and Recreation, Brantford Food Bank, ONEchurch Brantford Food Drive, Equal Grounds Community Gardens, and youth organization Organized Kaos had booths promoting partnerships and opportunities for members of Brantford’s churches. Dozens of churches and denominations were represented along with ministries and social services from the Brantford area.
Speaker James Kelly of FaithTech inspired attendees to pursue opportunities and solutions that can result from leveraging technology to solve real-world problems. He elaborated on the key idea that in the midst of devastation, there is an opportunity for innovation.
In an extended session afterward with two dozen who stayed behind, James expanded on ways that technology can be and has been used to help the marginalized, support the local church, and promote the gospel, and he presented tangible ways to get started. A group of tech and ministry leaders saw immediate value in these ideas and are planning to come together to see how this type of collaboration can work toward finding solutions for issues facing Brantford’s people and churches.
It was clear that the morning’s activities encouraged those who came. Phil McColeman shared his appreciation for the prayers and support of the people of Brantford, acknowledging that politics is not an easy road. He encouraged active community involvement, affirming that each person has their own reason for what they choose to do and that their motivation matters. Phil urged attendees to continue to lift up government leaders in prayer, saying political leaders “need every prayer you can give us.”
Jan Vanderstelt, City Councillor for Ward 1 shared his experience of Brantford with pieces from his life story, reinforcing the importance of community. He encouraged people not to give up but to pursue interactions where they can help others heal and recognize that they are not alone.
The event was an encouragement not only to the dignitaries who attended but to others as well. Connections were made and relationships strengthened as guests interacted and encouraged one another.
“It was seriously amazing! I NEVER want to miss another prayer breakfast,” said Julie Bonany, executive director of the Pregnancy and Resource Centre-Brant, in an email the next morning.
The 4th annual Brantford Civic Prayer Breakfast was a true coming together of the Church of Brantford to pray for and bless our civic leaders and to be blessed in return by them. To be a part of the 5th annual prayer breakfast, be sure to join the ONEchurch mailing list. You will also learn about other ways that you can participater with ONEchurch in the transformation of the city of Brantford. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.