“God gave me a vision. He told me to speak with Mayor (John) Land and ask if it would be okay to pray for him and the City of Apopka.” That’s how Shirley Sharpe-Terrell remembers the inspiration for what has become Apopka’s largest annual gathering of Christians.
After speaking with Land she started calling churches. “I took the list of Apopka churches and called every single one,” said Sharpe-Terrell.
Since 1996 there has always been a day of prayer in Apopka. From the beginning, the organizers chose the first Thursday in May, which coincides with the National Day of Prayer. For the first eleven years, people came to the steps of City Hall to pray for the city and the nation.
But in 2007 an additional event was added; The Annual Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.
The tradition continues next week on Thursday, May 3rd at 6:30 AM. More than 400 are expected to attend the early-morning event at the Apopka Community Center/VFW. The Apopka Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast draws people from across Central Florida, including federal, state, and county elected officials.
Tickets are available until noon on Monday at www.apopkaprayerbreakfast.org. Tickets will not be sold at the door.
“Prayers will be offered for the City, elected officials, first responders and more,” according to Pastor Darrell Morgan, who is the current president of the sponsor; the Apopka Christian Ministerial Alliance. He is also the Senior Pastor at Word of Life Church.
The guest speaker for this year’s Prayer Breakfast will be John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council.
“We chose John because he has been an advocate for Christian values for more than 30 years,” said Morgan.
Stemberger is a native Floridian and obtained his law degree from Florida State University where he founded the Institute for Conservative Studies.
In 2008 he served as Chairman of the campaign to amend Florida’s Constitution to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman which was adopted by 62% of Florida voters.
In 2009 he represented Rifqa Bary, the Muslim teenager from Ohio who fled to Orlando after she was threatened to be killed by her father for not renouncing her faith after her conversion from Islam to Christianity was discovered.
John is an Eagle Scout and former Scoutmaster.
In 2014 John led the effort to form Trail Life USA, a Christian scouting movement for boys. Trail Life now has more than 30,000 members in 700 troops chartered in 48 states.
John has been married to his wife Olivia for twenty years. They have four children; Joseph, Benjamin, Hannah, and Rachel.