Midlothian pastors, first responders, and community leaders came together during National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 7, observed at Heritage Park’s Larkin Newton log cabin in downtown Midlothian.

Although the COVID-19 crisis was not the reason for the gathering, the subject was clearly top of mind for all those who offered prayers and blessings during the one-hour ceremony. Organized locally each year by Manna House with the support of the city of Midlothian and Mayor Richard Reno, the event was a part of the observance being held across the country.

The crowd of approximately 75 people kept a distance from one another, and many wore cloth masks as recommended by the CDC during the pandemic. An additional 900 community members streamed the event live via Facebook to join the group in prayer.

Sissy Franklin, Executive Director of Manna House, opened the ceremony and served as emcee. Manna House, a local food pantry serving Ellis County, has worked throughout the pandemic to continue providing food to those in need.

For some of the speakers, the event marked the first time they had gathered in public since the pandemic led to sheltering at home. As has become the norm, many viewed the event online via Facebook Live. Speakers took turns offering prayers for families, youth, children, healthcare workers, patients, marriage, military, community unity, as well as pastors.

Each reminded the audience to reach out to their neighbors, stay close to God, and stay strong as a community during these times of uncertainty.