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Santa Barbara Gets with the Spirit at 53rd Annual Community Prayer Breakfast

Speakers provide roadmap for navigating through 'Mountains of Culture'

Religious leaders and hundreds of Christians from around the South Coast gathered to pray Thursday morning at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort for the 53rd Annual Santa Barbara Community Prayer Breakfast.

Christian leaders stood in the reception area greeting fellow pastors and community members before the presentation began. The mood was light and festive as guests slowly filed into the hotel’s ballroom.

Local Christian singer Shelley Spady’s magical voice warmed the room as guests found their seats and readied themselves for a morning of reflection, guidance and prayer.

As the lights dimmed and breakfast was served, guests were asked to bow their heads and recite the Lord’s Prayer.

Then, one by one, religious leaders spoke passionately to the crowd about the seven “Mountains of Culture” with strategic strongholds in America: Religion, family, education, government, arts and entertainment, media and business.

John Mullen, co-founder of Believer’s Edge, was the first speaker and he pointed to prayer and faith in God, which brought the community together during the Santa Barbara County’s spate of devastating fires in recent years.

“There are over 100 churches in our community, but we are one body in Christ” said Mullen, who also encouraged churches to be the “fragrance in the community.”

“We must return to our first love — Jesus Christ,” said Mullen.

Reed Jolley, pastor at Santa Barbara Community Church, stressed the importance of sustaining family values that are slowly eroding in today’s culture.

“God has given us a gift called family, and family must come first above all things,” said Jolly. “Eighty-percent of children in the U.S. will come from broken homes and four in 10 children will grow up without a parent.”

Above a round of applause, Jolly went on to say that husbands and wives must practice patience, fidelity and faithfulness in marriage.

Next, Dennis Wadley, senior pastor of Community Covenant Church of Goleta, spoke about education and referred to former South African President Nelson Mandela as a spokesman for God in his efforts to educate inmates and prison guards while incarcerated during the apartheid era.

“Education is core,” said Wadley, who then asked the audience to pray for educators in the community and to bless the children as well.

Pastor David Guzik from Calvary Chapel asked for prayer for government leaders, including President Barack Obama, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, and Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider.

“Bless them with the wisdom, foresight and advancement of righteousness in our country,” said Wadley.

Wadley went on to say that the Bible supported kings and that Christians should pray for those serving in government regardless of their political affiliations.

Later, Denny Wayman, pastor of Free Methodist Church, pointed out Christian values in arts and entertainment. Wayman, who with Hal Conklin writes the Cinema in Focus column published on Noozhawk, said Christians today are affecting the industry and spreading the word of God as actors and writers in movies, such as the Spit Fire Grill and The Blind Side.

“Christians are infusing the doctrine in their art, weaving Christianity in their work,” said Wayman.

Throughout the event, a slideshow presentation featured guest speakers Kathy Ireland and Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez.

Sanchez explained that prayer is an important part of his life and helps him deal with the pressures of his job. He also noted that many officers often participate in prayer before going on duty.

Reality Carpinteria pastor Britt Merrick spoke about the onset of social media, proclaiming that sites like Facebook should not be considered a threat, but instead as something Christians can utilize as a tool for truth.

“Speak the truth through the media,” said Merrick. “And become truth tellers.”

Tom Reed, executive director of the nonprofit Unity Shoppe, said business is one mountain that affects others and some Christians in the workplace are not prepared to take the next step.

“What does it look like to follow Christ in business?” asked Reed. “You must show up, suit up and be prepared to give leadership of Christ in the workplace.

“We have the ability to move all the seven ‘Mountains of Culture’ through the act of love,” he added. “God wants to use us as a message of transformation.”

Planet Solar was the even sponsor of the 53rd Annual Santa Barbara Community Prayer Breakfast.

Table sponsors were Agility Capital, Paul Aijian M.D., Al Koke Wallcovering, George Armstrong, Daniel Beiderman, Henry Bowis, Patricia and Hershel Brewer, Bryant & Sons Jewelers, Burleigh Skidmore, Cicileo Landscapes, Sal Cisneros, Hal Conklin, Roy Doty – CBMC, Kent Englert, Faro’s Montecito Retreat, Free Methodist Church, Gsolutionz Inc., Michael Holliday, Hydrex Pest Control, Peter Jordano, Robert Mangus, Mannon & Associates, Johnny Mullen, Neikirk & Gulley, Brian O’Connor, Printing Impressions, Barrett Reed, The Samarkand, Sampanis Construction, Santa Barbara Christian School, Santa Barbara Volkswagen, Berta Schulte, Reed Spangler, Tri County Lighting, Wells Fargo Bank and Westmont College.

— Noozhawk iSociety columnist Melissa Walker can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews, and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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