Seniors pray for Obama, and their 103-year-old friend
By Hamil R. Harris
At a time when debate rages over President Obama's health care reform proposal, a group of senior citizens at church not far from Capitol Hill transformed their annual luncheon into a prayer rally to ask for divine intervention for a leader they see as under attack.
"We have to pray for our President," preached Rev. Freddie Davis during the Sixth Annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at the New Samaritan Baptist Church in Northeast where he reminded the seniors that God and not legislation is responsible for their good health.
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"The only reason why we are here today is because we are blessed and highly favored," said Davis, 68, the pastor of the District's Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church, who reminded the group that he, too, is a senior citizen.
More than 400 senior citizens took part in the event Thursday afternoon, which in addition to worship, baked chicken and scalloped potatoes smothered in cream sauce, there was recognition for Julia Jefferson. According to the DC Department of Aging, Jefferson is 103 years old, a District resident who once was known for baking "hot rolls" for President Richard Nixon.
"I still want to be a witness for the Lord," said Jefferson, who was among several senior citizens honored by Bishop Michael Kelsey, the church's pastor. "With all that is going on in this country and in this city, we felt that it was very important honor the seniors in their own special way," Kelsey said. "They have labored, they have sacrificed, they have given of themselves."
While Kelsey was honoring the seniors he was also trying to catch up on what was happening on Capitol Hill. "The national polices that the President puts forth must have relevance on the local level and our seniors are the most persons affected by some of these polices," Kelsey said.
In recent months, Kelsey is one of several District pastors who has taken part in White House policy briefings. That doesn't mean that Obama will be joining his church.
"I don't spend a lot of time and energy hoping that the President will join my church I spend a lot of time praying for him. We come together every Tuesday at 7 for one our of prayer and this is clergy from around the country," Kelsey said. "I don't know of any other President who has granted the kind of access to the White House and information as President Obama."
David Waters| March 19, 2010; 1:21 PM ET | Category: Under God Save & Share:
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