National Prayer Breakfast: Speaker tells attendees who their 'neighbor' is
CAMP ZAMA, Japan - U.S. Army Garrison Japan's Religious Support Office hosted its National Prayer Breakfast May 5 at Camp Zama Community Club.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Tom McCort, garrison chaplain for USAG Japan said the NPB is one of the many local observances celebrated at garrisons throughout the Army, originating from the official NPB hosted annually by U.S. Congress with the U.S. President in Washington.
McCort said NPB provides an opportunity for Camp Zama community members, regardless of their religious faith, to come together on a "National Day of Prayer," which was established by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and is held the first Thursday in May each year.
The NPB began with welcoming remarks from Col. William B. Johnson, commander of USAG Japan, followed by attendees helping themselves to a breakfast buffet.
Members of the JGSDF were also in attendance.
As they had their meals, participants heard music from U.S. Army Japan Band's Fuji Winds Ensemble and an acapella performance of "America the Beautiful" by Spc. Marcus Goodwine, assigned to USARJ Band.
Chaplain (Capt.) Daniel Garnett, chaplain assigned to 441st Military Intelligence Battalion, delivered a prayer for "the nation" and Chaplain (Capt.) Deborah Frick, chaplain assigned to 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, delivered a prayer "for peace."
The event continued with guest speaker Chaplain (Col.) Harry Rauch, region command chaplain for Installation Management Command-Pacific at Fort Shafter, H.I.
Rauch spoke to the audience using stories from the Bible to help answer the rhetorical question "And Who is my Neighbor?" from his keynote address.
"Your neighbor is anyone whose need you see, whose need you are in a position to meet," said Rauch.
He said that a neighbor may be someone that "you do not know," someone who is "unfriendly," or "unrewarding," and encouraged audience members to demonstrate love no matter the circumstances or conditions.
"It's truly pious (religious) nonsense to talk about loving God - who we have not seen - if we do not live in love towards our neighbors - who we do see."
The observance concluded with a presentation from Johnson to Rauch.
"It was an excellent reminder of living outside of ourselves to help someone when they need it," said Demetricus Jefferson, Family Member who was in attendance.
"We all can help someone," she said.