The list of names on the planning committee behind the 13th annual Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon scheduled on Saturday at Kilohana Luau Pavilion is lengthy. Here are some of the people listed in an email from organizers: Pastor Bruce Baumgartner, Mr. Mark and Mrs. Diane Beeksma, Mrs. Malie de la Cruz, Pastor Vill Galiza, Pastor Larry Matsuwaki, Pastor Roy and Dely Sasaki, Pastor Ofelia Serrano and Pastor John Zimmerman.
That’s an impressive list of good people.
There is one more name listed as “Honorary Host,” and that is Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr.
Now, some people have questioned whether it’s appropriate for the mayor, Kauai’s top elected official, to be hosting what is clearly a Christian gathering. Some say he should not be espousing a particular faith, that it is something the mayor should keep private.
Now, in case you were wondering what indicates this as a Christian event, here’s how it is described by organizers in an email:
“The Prayer Luncheon brings together guests from the businesses, government, church and community sectors for anointed worship and celebration. It is also a special time to intercede through prayer for healing, divine guidance and blessing for our island, our state, and our nation.”
The event sponsors are Kauai Island Ministries and island churches.
The flier for the luncheon includes this Bible verse: “And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers.” — Malachi 4:6.
And an email from organizers includes this Bible verse: “I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel.” — Philippians 1:4-5.
So, yes, there is little doubt this is a Christian gathering.
The speaker will be Jim Burns, Ph.D., president of HomeWord and the executive director of HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Burns, will speak on “Honoring fathers, the power of being there.” Burns writes and speaks on the values of strong marriages, confident parents, empowered kids and healthy leaders. His most popular books are “Confident Parenting,” “The Purity Code,” “Creating an Intimate Marriage” and “Closer.”
Should the mayor be the Honorary Host of the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon? Again, some would argue it’s not appropriate. We see it as a positive. The mayor is always respectful and courteous when sharing his thoughts. Whether they be on community, business, politics or faith, the mayor takes care to show respect for others. The mayor is not pushing his beliefs on anyone. He doesn’t declare them at county meetings. The fact that he is willing to publicly share his beliefs at community events, actually mention the name Jesus Christ, let’s people know where he stands, is something we like to see in elected leaders. What you believe, when it comes to God or religion, doesn’t have to remain hidden in your home or your church. Likewise, we must show respect for those of different viewpoints as well.
People of all faiths are welcome at the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon. Its doors are open to anyone who would like to hear Burns and also hear or even be part of prayers that will be said at the luncheon. If you go, don’t be surprised to see some of Kauai’s leaders. Faith is part of life, and they are free to express it.