Politics & Government

Governor asks for prayers during service marking inauguration

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks during a prayer service Sunday at Newman University. The service was part of several events for Brownback leading up to his inauguration ceremony in Topeka on Monday. (Jan. 11, 2015)
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks during a prayer service Sunday at Newman University. The service was part of several events for Brownback leading up to his inauguration ceremony in Topeka on Monday. (Jan. 11, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

Gov. Sam Brownback asked Kansans to pray for him during a prayer service Sunday in Wichita to honor his second inauguration.

About 150 people attended the service at Newman University’s DeMattias Performance Hall, of which nearly 60 were members of choral groups from two area churches.

The service was the second of four inaugural events across Kansas. A formal ceremony and swearing-in will begin at 11 a.m. Monday in Topeka.

Initially scheduled for the south steps of the Capitol, the swearing-in ceremony has been moved inside to the House of Representatives chambers because of potentially dangerous wind chills forecast for Monday morning.

“It’s a big job being governor,” Brownback told the audience at Newman. “And we need a lot of prayer.

“I am here to ask you pray for us. ... I am asking for it in state leadership, for local leadership and national leadership, for around the world. We are called to pray,” he said.

“My wife and I almost every night pray for President Obama. Now, I don’t agree with him on a lot of politics, but my guess is that he doesn’t agree with me on a lot of mine. But that doesn’t matter. I pray for him to have godly wisdom.”

The governor and his wife, Mary, walked in about 10 minutes after the service started Sunday. When he rose to speak, he introduced her.

“She has been a rock for me and our family,” he said amid applause. “She is just a wonderful lady.

“We have been married for 32 years and five kids later … so pray for us.”

People came for a variety of reasons, mostly to support the governor and family members.

Tiane Fox said she came to support her daughter.

“We go to Central Christian Church, and she’s in the choir,” Fox said. “I’m always excited to support her. The governor is exciting, too.”

Christiane Fox, her daughter, said, “I’m really excited, and I hope it welcomes the governor and encourages him, whatever he is going through.”

Angela Mooneyham came because she opposes abortion, she said.

“I wanted to hear Gov. Brownback,” Mooneyham said. “I also wanted to hear the other speakers.”

Roosevelt Wallace brought his wife, who sang in the Tabernacle Bible Church Choir.

“He’s my governor, and so that’s something,” Wallace said.

In welcoming the audience, Noreen Carrocci, president of Newman University, said: “We gather today to pray for truth and wisdom for our governor and lieutenant governor as they begin new terms of service.

“Truth is often a difficult value to discern, especially with the noise of our culture today. Give Gov. Sam Brownback and Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer listening hearts, searching hearts, so that the common good of the people of Kansas may be a priority of their service in leadership,” she said.

“May all who work on behalf of the state of Kansas form what the sisters call ‘Right Relationships’ to better the quality of life through each and all, including sufficient food, housing, education and health care.”

Newman was founded by the Sisters of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ.

Brownback offered the benediction to the service. And although his name was on the program as one of the featured speakers, Colyer did not speak during the public service.

On a closing note, Brownback encouraged Kansans to pray.

“I want people to pray for the communities in unity, pray for the needs of your community; they are all different,” he said.

“Your community needs you praying for them, and nobody else can pray for your community but you.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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