TCPalm: Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast speakers emphasize compassion, faith

Originally posted at TCPalm by Janet Begley.

Prayers, music and faith were all part of the 14th annual Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast that took place Thursday at the Indian River County Fairgrounds.

More than 1,500 of the area’s faithful came out to hear Conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza, Martin Luther King Jr.’s niece Alveda King and Guy Penrod, former lead singer of the Gaither Vocal Band.

D’Souza, who also is an author, public speaker and filmmaker, delivered messages about Christianity in America, and said he was happy to share the stage with King, a champion of civil rights for the unborn.

“We live in a time when compassion has become one of our leading virtues,” said D’Souza. “But the circumstances of compassion is not wide enough to encompass the unborn.”

He added that with Easter approaching, it was appropriate to recognize the pillars of the Christian faith.

“At the end of the day, we need to say to God you are my Lord and Savior,” said D’Souza. “You are carrying me to a life beyond with glories greater than I can imagine. What can I say, but thank you?”

The Rev. Bill Jerrils, the senior adults and visitation pastor at the First Church of God in Vero Beach, said he appreciated hearing from D’Souza.

“He emphasized the importance of compassion,” said Jerrils. “He was able to take philosophical concepts and apply them to the Christian faith in a way we could all understand.”

Maureen Nicolace, president of the Vero Beach Christian Business Association, said she was happy D’Souza chose to emphasize his faith, rather than some of his more political views.

“He kept his comments to his Christian faith and was not divisive,” Nicolace said. “I really appreciated that.”

D’Souza is the director of the movies 2016: Obama’s America and Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party, which criticize the former president, former secretary of state and the Democratic Party.

He was sentenced in 2014 to five years’ probation and eight months in a halfway house after pleading guilty to one felony count of making illegal campaign contributions in the names of others.

Recently, D’Souza apologized amid a wave of backlash for mocking on Twitter an emotional AP photo of Parkland’s Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors.

King, director of Civil Rights for the Unborn, said the prayer breakfast was a testimony to the goodness of God, and she urged people to live together as brothers and sisters in one human race.

Penrod provided the morning’s inspirational music that drew the crowd to its feet several times.

His rendition of “You Reign” was well received by attendees, who sang along with Penrod as he walked through the audience. Toward the end of the song, he added “Jesus reigns over Vero Beach,” drawing loud applause from the crowd.

The Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast was established more than a decade ago by organizer John Bona after he attended a similar event with his wife, Carol. For many years, the Vero Beach gathering took place under a tent in Riverside Park, but moved back to the fairground pavilion in 2016 to accommodate the larger crowds.

Bona said the purpose of the annual prayer breakfast is to seek the Lord’s direction for the faithful of Vero Beach and the surrounding area.

Peter Sweck, of Sebastian, attended the breakfast and said he found the morning spiritual and moving.

“It was so inspiring and it gave you a sense that you were spiritually lifted,” said Sweck. “It was so nice to be with so many people who felt the same way as I do.”

Read more at TCPalm.


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