“Each of us is called to be a Nehemiah community builder,” Andy Calhoun, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Charlotte, told the annual prayer breakfast crowd Wednesday morning at the James W. Warren Citizens Center in Lincolnton.
As the event’s keynote speaker, Calhoun focused his speech on the topic of community, using a biblical example to illustrate his point.
In the Bible, God called Nehemiah to physically and spiritually rebuild the city of Jerusalem through reconstructing its walls and the life of its people.
Likewise, Calhoun encouraged Lincoln County community members to follow in the ancient leader’s footsteps by caring for the county, investing in its people and serving like Christ.
He also expressed his appreciation for Lincolnton’s small-town “warmth and spirit,” calling it “more than just a suburb of Charlotte.”
Law enforcement officers, city and county government officials, religious leaders, and YMCA board members, among others, gathered for the Lincoln County YMCA’s 13th consecutive breakfast for the purpose of prayer, worship and fellowship at the start of the holiday season.
According to YMCA Marketing Coordinator Thor Yang, nearly 400 people attended the breakfast.
“They love it,” she said. “It’s a great social gathering … right before the holidays.”
The event has humble roots after organization officials gathered for prayer in the basement of Lincolnton’s First Presbyterian Church during its inaugural year, according to Ken Rudisill.
Rudisill was the 2012 recipient of the YMCA’s coveted George Williams Award, named in honor of the organization’s late founder.
This year’s award recipients, Mark Boyd and Susan Davis, were honored for possessing service, leadership and commitment to the nonprofit’s mission.
Boyd, president of Times Oil Company, accepted the award for his volunteer work with the Lincoln County YMCA in Lincolnton, while Sally’s YMCA in Denver selected Davis for her contribution as a founding member and branch board member.
Five designated community members, including Denver Fire Captain Johnny Roseboro, offered one prayer apiece during the event on the topics of children, students, family, community and public servants.
“We’re all children of the King,” Roseboro told the Times-News. “If we do our part, He’ll (God will) do His.”
During closing remarks, Operational Vice President Mary Ann Edwards identified a few of the Lincoln County Family YMCA’s accomplishments this past year including the opening of Camp Creekside, a recreation complex filled with sports fields, an amphitheater and more, and the establishment of the Y Readers program, founded in conjunction with Lincoln County Schools. The program successfully increased the reading test scores of more than 90 percent of participating students, Edwards said.
Prayer breakfast sponsors included Carolina Trust Bank, Lake Norman Flowers and Gifts and Chillin & Grillin caterers. In addition, The Green House Jazz Ensemble serenaded guests Wednesday with classic holiday tunes.