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The 48th National Prayer Breakfast and Leadership Dinner took place Monday June 3rd and Tuesday June 4th . It was more than an opportunity to gather and enjoy delicious food; it was also a time of fellowship and unity in Christ Jesus.
At the leadership dinner Monday night, we were warmly welcomed by our hosts, Senator Yonah Martin and Senator Don Meredith, who set the tone of a relaxed dinner amongst friends. Instead of traditional hymns, The Smiths (or as they were affectionately renamed, Smith and Company) played contemporary worship music throughout the evening with passion and conviction. Continuing along the informal theme was the on-stage interview between Lois Brown, MP and dinner speaker Ben Heppner, one of Canada’s leading dramatic tenors. Mr. Heppner shared his experiences growing up in Northern British Columbia, how he came to his love of opera, and most importantly, the role that faith has played in his career and how his career has played a role in his faith. The evening concluded with more music from Smith and Company. It was powerful to see: doctors, lawyers, engineers, business men, politicians, and ambassadors on their feet, worshiping and giving thanks for the great country in which we live.
The 48th National Prayer Breakfast began bright and early the next morning. The head table which consisted of various parliamentarians, the organizing committee and honoured guests, was piped in to officially begin the prayer breakfast. Colin Mayes, MP and chair of the National Prayer Breakfast, welcomed the guests and introduced the head table. After the singing of the national anthem and an opening prayer, breakfast was served. This was a time of fellowship amongst guests - truly an opportunity to share the joys of living ones faith in the workplace.
All present were then led through a time of prayer and meditation. Lois Brown, MP read the Statement of Purpose, and Ben Heppner led several hymns. The Hon. Jason Kenny, Joe Comartin MP and the Hon. Justin Trudeau shared scripture. Dr. Andrew Bennett, Ambassador for the Office of Religious Freedoms, then prayed for Canada and Nations of the World.
Following the time of prayer, guests were addressed by bestselling author, Eric Metaxas. Told with self-effacing humour and a slight American accent, Metaxas shared a portion of his conversion story. He grew up Greek Orthodox, but abandoned religion of any kind while attending YaleUniversity. It wasn’t until, while working a dead end job, he met a friend who seemed to have to answers to the meaning and purpose of life. This friend was a Christian. After a powerful encounter with Jesus, Metaxas’ life began to change. Through surrendering his life to Christ, he found freedom. Next, Eric Metaxas shared about the lives of other men of influence, primarily English politician William Wilberforce. Wilberforce’s faith convicted him to advocate for the abolition of the slave trade of the 18th and 19th century. He challenged the leaders present, to allow their faith to make a difference in the world: to love others, to fight for human dignity and to share the Good News by being an example in how we live out our lives. His powerful address left many reinvigorated and impassioned to be witness of the Word.
The event concluded with a prayer read by Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, Vice-Chief of Defence Staff, and remarks from Colin Mayes, MP, followed by a final hymn sung by Ben Heppner. Although, most people had to dash off to work, the atmosphere remained one of joyful fellowship and anticipation for next year’s Prayer Breakfast events which will be held on May 7th and 8th, 2014.
Written by Danielle Breffitt, Communications Team, Catholic Christian Outreach