Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast returns

Nick Stroman

For the 14th time, the city of Washington will take one day out of the year to come together as a community, and be inspired to celebrate God and leadership.

The Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast will be from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Nov. 20 at Five Points Washington banquet rooms. Seating starts at 6:15 a.m.

Chamber director Carol Hamilton said the purpose behind the breakfast is to provide a strong, insightful message the audience can take back to the workplace.

“It tells people to keep God in your life and, hopefully, everyone is inspired to be a better person and towards one another,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said attendance for each year’s breakfast is very high, usually between 200 to 300 people.

“We always get phone calls immediately after saying what a great time people had and how they will refer other people to come the next year,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the breakfast is unique in a day and age when God is being removed from anything to do with public life.

“Our mayors for the past 14 years have seen the positive advantages of having an event where God is included and appreciated,” he added.

Mayor Gary Manier said the idea for the breakfast was patterned from a similar event in Peoria, which the late Bob Sommer and former mayor Don Gronewald attended.

“When Sommer died several years back, we gave a flag to his wife, Joanne, and it flies at city hall on the day of the event. It was important for us to keep up the tradition and honor him as well,” Manier said.

Manier said the two men thought the idea would especially work in Washington because some of central Illinois’ earliest churches were located here.

“We are a pretty religious community here and we have many reasons to be blessed,” Manier said.

“Our city is riding high from economic growth, community development and great schools and parks,” he added.

Manier said the theme and speakers for the breakfast are changed every year to keep things fresh, but the messages are always inspirational.

“It’s a feel-good morning and something to start your day off right,” he added.

Manier said they played off the recent summer Olympics with this year’s choice of speaker.

Dan Green of Naperville will deliver his “Finish Strong” message at the breakfast, and all those attending will walk away with his book and DVD of the same name.

Green recently received the trademark rights to the phrase “Finish Strong” and has a vision of spreading the message to people across the globe.

Green said the philosophy has helped him achieve his goals in business as the executive vice president of the company Simple Truths, where he leads the sales and marketing effort.

Green is also a patented inventor, race car driver, husband and father.

Manier said they try to keep each year’s breakfast interesting enough so it is memorable and worthwhile to come out for the early morning event.

“I think it’s good for everyone, once in awhile, to take a few steps back from the everyday problems and celebrate community. These are a few hours to reflect, and I really enjoy being a part of it,” Manier said.

Although the prayer breakfast is an event planned by the mayor and chamber of commerce, it is not limited to chamber members, and everyone is invited to attend.

The reservation deadline is Nov. 14. For more information on ticket prices or to make reservations, call the chamber office at 444-9921.