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Adventist Health Howard Memorial Unites Community in Prayer

Community Partnerships Thursday, February 08, 2018 (Willits, CA) – Over 200 business owners, law enforcement, first responders, hospital leaders and local officials gathered early Thursday morning, February 1 for the annual prayer breakfast at the Willits Community Center. Coinciding with the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC, the gathering’s main theme was uniting the community and asking for blessing and guidance in the face of many challenges both at the local and national level. 

Sponsored and organized by Adventist Health Howard Memorial, and now on its 6th year, the annual event started in 2012 as a gathering to draw upon the rich faith and diversity of the community as the source of its strength and hope for the future. 

Jason Wells, Adventist Health Howard Memorial president, who welcomed attendees, emphasized the need to come together. “This prayer breakfast has become an annual gift from Howard to our community. As one of the largest employers and connectors in our region, I believe we are called to be a uniting force, inspiring us all to come together as one. We have far more in common and working together, we can overcome so many more challenges.” 

Local faith leaders offered prayers for unity, the city, state and the nation, home and family and for our first responders. Ronald Lincoln Sr from the Wylackii Pomo tribe offered a prayer for unity, while Betsy Bruneau offered a prayer for city, state and the nation. Sam Senerchia, Soto Zen Buddhist, asked for blessings for home and family. 

Especially meaningful this year, was a prayer for first responders by Bishop Dale Abono from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, in light of the devastation due to the October wildfires. 

Special guest, international violinist Jaime Jorge continued the theme of unity and faith as he shared his story and gift of healing music and underscored the importance of the event to unite the whole community regardless of faith or affiliation. “We must realize, we’re more alike than we’re different. In my work, I’ve seen how music has a way of uniting people, and healing people. It’s truly the international language.” 

Later that evening, Jaime delighted almost 200 community members in a free concert at the Willits Community Center. Playing a mix of Christian and contemporary music, he enthralled the audience with his music in between sharing his struggles growing up in communist Cuba and overcoming many obstacles after moving to the United States. Jaime reiterated his message of using one’s “God-given” talents to bring joy to others as he has done. 
“Thru music you can heal, you can unite. Parents, if you have children who have the talent, keep pushing them, don’t let them give up. Someday they will realize how much joy they can bring to others and how fulfilling that can be.” 

Before the night ended, Jaime asked the audience to join him in one last song, to sing “Happy Birthday” to a special person in the crowd, Willits’ beloved Edie Ceccarelli in celebration of her 110th birthday.