About 100 people commemorated Lodi's observance of the National Day of Prayer by urging God to become an integral part of government decision-making, return to public classrooms and give Americans the courage to say no to allowing abortion and same-sex marriage.
"There's a lot of darkness in the world that needs to see the light of Jesus Christ," Pastor Matt Duerr of Zion Reformed Church said at the prayer observance Thursday evening at Lodi's All-Veterans Plaza on Pine Street.
Prayers were also offered for the welfare of American troops who risk their lives daily, a personal revival to God and for unity of all churches, including Christian faiths.
"Father, we need you to be part of our government," said Pastor David Rails of Lodi Community Church. "May we see that you are there at every (city) council meeting?"
Rails also asked for Lodi's police, fire and planning departments to make sound decisions through God.
Participating pastors included Chris Townsend of Emanuel Lutheran Church, Frank Nolton of New Hope Community Church, Perry Kallis of Temple Baptist Church, David Rails of Lodi Community Church, Chad Donley of Ham Lane Church of Christ, Patrice MucCular of New Covenant Tabernacle, Matt Duerr of Zion Reformed Church, Kim Williams of the Salvation Army and Bill Cummins of Bear Creek Community Church.
Ham Lane's children's choir also performed two songs. The choir consists of Sean Mullins, Gabe Donley, Andrew Taylor, Gillian Donley, Kaelyn Taylor and Jillian McDaniels.
Lodi's prayer observance was also marked by two atheists quietly protesting the city observance on the sidewalk nearby.
"As an atheist citizen, I support the rights of Christians to engage in their private beliefs, but I do not support the public and civil participation of an unconstitutional holiday," Lodi resident Sarah Tygert wrote in an email to the News-Sentinel.
Tygert and her boyfriend Brad Schatz held signs advocating the separation of God and government. Schatz once attended Emanuel Lutheran Church, but said he realized he wasn't a Christian. His parents still attend Emanuel.
Contact reporter Ross Farrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.