In addition to being the “Youngest Mayor in Howell history,” newly elected Phil Campbell is also the first to establish a mayor’s prayer chain to help with some of the problems he sees in the community.
Why a mayoral prayer chain?
On Campbell’s website, he explains:
“As Mayor, I find out about everything that goes on in our community: disputes between neighbors, broader challenges the City is facing long and short term, upcoming development projects, business opportunities, problems with homelessness and poverty, and even, unfortunately, murders, suicides and things of that nature. There are so many things and people to pray for, so many things in the community to come to the God about – won’t you help me to bring these many important intentions before the Lord?”
Here’s how the mayoral prayer chain will work: After sending an email to Mayor Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org asking to be added to the chain, you’ll receive a monthly email with prayer intentions for the community. Mayor Campbell expects that he and you will “commit to praying for these intentions.”
While some may say a mayoral prayer chain is an unusual municipal tool, Campbell claims there is precedent. On his website, he writes:
“…It is nothing different than what our own Congress has done. Ever since 1775, our federal Congress has not infrequently called officially for days of prayer, thanksgiving and fasting; the most famous examples are those called by Washington and Lincoln. Ever since 1952, the United States actually observed a formally established National Day of Prayer, encouraging all Americans to ‘turn to God in prayer and meditation.’ Clearly, there is a precedent in this country of members of government or the government itself encouraging its citizens to pray and it has never been construed as a violation of the First Amendment, least of all in this case where I make the solicitation on my personal website using my personal email as the means of communication.”
While the prayer solicitation is presented by Campbell as being made on his own, personally, not as mayor, he calls it the “Mayor’s Prayer Chain” instead of “Phil Campbell’s Prayer Chain,” and his website looks, well, so very mayoral.
I’ve got a message out to Campbell with a couple questions about the prayer chain. I’ll keep you in the loop when I receive his feedback. (You can read Campbell’s responses to my questions here.)
Now I’ve got nothing against prayer; I offer mine own up on a regular basis. But a prayer chain as a municipal tool?
I don’t know whether the prayer chain will move a divine power to smite the city’s traffic circles, but at the least I predict it’s going to bring a lot of attention to Howell.