Thursday, May 5, was the National Day of Prayer in the United States. Around the state, people came together, and in Flagler County there were two meetings — one in support, and one in protest.
In Flagler County, the city of Bunnell organized an assembly of faiths at the suggestion of Bunnell City Commissioner John Rogers. He raised the question of activities planned for the day. Nothing had been proposed, so he got to work.
With the help of Bunnell City Manager Armando Martinez, The Rev. Sims Jones and Bunnell City Commissioner Daisy Henry, a gathering was held in front of Bunnell's Old City Hall, featured the band ROAR, from Calvary Christian Center, in Ormond Beach.
Notable officials in attendance were Bunnell Mayor Catherine Robinson, Vice Mayor Jenny Crain-Brady, Rogers and Henry, as well as Martinez, Bunnell Police Chief Arthur Jones and Flagler County Commissioner Nate MacLaughlin.
The assembled group cited Bible verses and led prayer to remember U.S. troops serving abroad and to give thanks to God. About 60 people were in attendance.
Martinez suggested making the first Thursday in May "God City Day in Bunnell" in support of the event.
Later in the day, led by Rabbi Merrill Shapiro, president of the National Board of Trustees for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a small group of people met to protest the National Day of Prayer with a celebration of All Inclusion Day at Heroes Park in Palm Coast.
The peaceful assembly heard from members of the American Civil Liberties Union; the Freethinkers of Flagler County, who discussed ethical living; and the Stonewall Democrats, who voiced concern for human rights.
Sensei Morris Sekiyo Sullivan, of the Volusia Buddhist Fellowship, led the group of about 20 in a meditation to promote goodwill and highlight an alternative to Christianity.
The main topic was the need to keep church separate from state matters, according to Shapiro. Feeling the gathering in Bunnell may have disenfranchised some people, Shapiro expressed his interest in continuing to focus efforts of the United Americans group in Flagler.