Charlotte-area YMCA prayer breakfast draws record crowd

htrenda@charlotteobserver.comApril 24, 2014 

  • National Day of Prayer

    For the first 25 years, the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s Community Prayer Breakfast was traditionally held on the National Day of Prayer, said YMCA spokeswoman Molly Thompson.

    But two years ago, organizers moved the event to an earlier date in an effort to extend the focus on prayer for more than a day, she said.

    Here are a number of National Day of Prayer activities that will be held at area YMCA branches on May 1. The public is invited to attend. Additional details:

    Camp Harrison at Herring Ridge

    Prayer, fellowship and music will be in the dining hall at noon, 7901 S. N.C. 18, Boomer.

    Camp Thunderbird

    A group prayer walk will be in the morning and a short prayer reception will be in the afternoon. Scriptures provided in the front office, 1 Thunderbird Lane, Lake Wylie, SC.

    Childress Klein YMCA

    A prayer gathering will be in the lobby at noon, 301 S. College St. #200, Charlotte.

    Dowd YMCA

    Soliciting prayer requests and leading group prayers at designated times, 400 E. Morehead St., Charlotte.

    Harris YMCA

    A prayer gathering will be in the conference room at 11 a.m., 5900 Quail Hollow Road, Charlotte.

    Johnston YMCA

    Members are invited to gather throughout the day in the chapel, 3025 N. Davidson St., Charlotte.

    Lake Norman YMCA

    Open prayer gatherings will be held at the flagpole at 9:15 a.m. and 6 p.m., 21300 Davidson St., Cornelius.

    Lincoln County YMCA

    A community prayer gathering will be at 8:30 a.m. at the courthouse (1 Courthouse Square, Lincolnton) and a nighttime prayer service will be at 8 p.m. at the YMCA’s outdoor chapel, 1402 E. Gaston St., Lincolnton.

    Lowe’s YMCA

    Staff and volunteers will gather at 10:45 a.m. at the YMCA (170 Joe Knox Ave., Mooresville) and at the Mooresville Soup Kitchen (275 S. Broad St., Mooresville) for community prayer.

    Morrison YMCA

    Food, faith and fellowship, 7 a.m., 9405 Bryant Farms Road, Charlotte.

    McCrorey YMCA

    Prayer gatherings will meet at the flagpole at designated times during the day, 3801 Beatties Ford Road, Charlotte.

    Sally’s YMCA

    Prayer gathering at the flagpole, noon, 1601 Forney Creek Parkway, Denver.

    Siskey YMCA

    Prayer meeting in the lobby at 12:30 p.m., 3127 Weddington Road, Matthews.

    Steele Creek YMCA

    Giving out ribbons to members throughout the day with prayers for community, family and friends, 2135-A Ayrsley Town Blvd., Charlotte.

    Stratford Richardson YMCA

    Prayer meeting in the lobby at 10 a.m., 1946 West Blvd., Charlotte.

    University City YMCA

    Hosting a prayer gathering at noon, 8100 Old Mallard Creek Road, Charlotte.

Despite a history of success, Duke Energy’s Richard “Stick” Williams said he regularly struggles with a personal fear of failure, which he copes with through faith.

He spoke to a record crowd of nearly 2,200 people at the 27th annual YMCA Community Prayer Breakfast at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Thursday morning.

Williams, Charlotte-based Duke Energy vice president of corporate community affairs and Duke Energy Foundation president, delivered a keynote message about faith in God’s ability to bring believers through challenges, or “giants,” such as doubt, fear and addiction.

“We all confront giants. … They come in different shapes and sizes,” he said. “The question to ask is, do you focus on the giants, or do you focus on the Lord?”

While many prayer events have a somber focus on community issues, event organizers wanted to incorporate more elements of praise into this year’s gathering, said Molly Thompson, spokeswoman for the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.

Breakfast committee volunteers “wanted to make (Thursday’s meeting) a very inspirational and energetic event … and have it be really, truly uplifting,” Thompson said.

Performances from Charlotte’s Central Church Sanctuary Choir helped meet that goal by bringing attendees to their feet numerous times. A video montage of YMCA staff, volunteers and area branch members singing and dancing to the song “Praise Him” also had the audience clapping and singing along.

Attendance continues to grow – roughly 2,000 people attended last year’s breakfast, Thompson said. The event is funded entirely by donations.

Besides his roles with Duke Energy, Williams also co-chairs Project LIFT – the $55 million public-private effort to significantly improve achievement at West Charlotte High and its feeder schools – and serves on the board of directors for Hope Haven and the Bank of Commerce of North Carolina.

It’s only been through faith that Williams said he’s been able to confront his own giants.

“Why do we freak out? We’re human,” he said. “We forget about the miracles.”

Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter: @htrenda

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