Roughly 1,000 people attended the annual Governor’s Prayer Breakfast” Thursday morning in Jefferson City. Guests dined on omelets, bacon and hash browns during a presentation that concluded in less than 45 minutes.
Organizers bill the proceedings as an interfaith gathering for leaders and citizens with the purpose of seeking “God’s guidance for our political leaders as they begin the legislative session”.
The event is bipartisan in nature, and light in its non-denominational Christian message. Although politics are not part of the presentation, the keynote speaker at the breakfast is known to have strong opinions.
The Reverend John Lindell heads the James River Church in Springfield, which is affiliated with the Assembly of God. His Sunday congregations top 15,000 on a regular basis.
Lindell was a strong proponent of repealing the city’s discrimination laws protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, which voters rescinded by a narrow margin in 2015.
Lindell announced the theme for the prayer breakfast as “faith and courage” while delivering an upbeat speech free that lasted about 12 minutes.
Lawmakers, including Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson of Poplar Bluff and Democratic Senator Kiki Curls of Kansas City read bible passages. Governor Greitens shared his favorite portions of the bible to touching on general themes, such as “faith conquering fear”.
Greitens spoke for less than six minutes, a departure from outgoing Democratic Governor Jay Nixon in, who spoke at greater length in 2017.
The Missouri Governor’s Prayer Breakfast was established in the 1950’s as an extension of the National Prayer Breakfast.
Proceeds from this year’s breakfast help to subsidize the Governor’s Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, which brings together Missouri college juniors for a three-day study of faith and leadership. Participants explore the role faith has played in the lives of business executives, sports figures and government officials.
Missouri Governor John Ashcroft joined several other national politicians to established the first annual National Student Leadership Forum. The national event served as the catalyst for similar events held in 28 states.
Jefferson City businessman Clyde Lear has organized the Governor’s Student Leadership Forum since its inception. Lear was a founding partner in the Learfield company, which owns and operates Missourinet.