Paul Ryan, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Reverend Clarence Williams, Greater Mt Zion AME Church. Representative Kathy Castor of Florida’s 14th District. Reverend Patrick Conroy, U.S. House Of Representatives Chaplain.
On September 21, 2016 our very own, Reverend Clarence Williams, honorably delivered the Congressional Opening Prayer. Delivering the prayer is a great honor to whom only a select few have been given the grace to perform.
The Chaplain of the United States House of Representatives, Reverend Patrick Conroy, is chosen to “perform ceremonial, symbolic, and pastoral duties.” These responsibilities include opening House sessions with a prayer or coordinating the delivery of the prayer by guest chaplains recommended by members of the House.
Below you’ll find the transcript from this momentous occasion.
One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:
Ms. CASTOR of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to welcome my friend and fellow Floridian, Reverend Clarence A. Williams to the House floor as our guest chaplain.
Pastor Williams is a lifelong public servant and trailblazing leader in the Tampa Bay community. He serves as the senior pastor of the Greater Mt. Zion AME Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, which I have the honor to represent here in the Congress. Pastor Williams is a man of great wisdom and he is a man of action.
In 2013, Pastor Williams formed Cross and Anvil Human Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization which works to close the educational, digital, and wealth gap for our neighbors in Tampa Bay. He is a founding member of Men in the Making, a youth mentoring organization; Life member of the NAACP; and board member of the Community Health Centers of Pinellas County.
His unwavering commitment to the St. Petersburg community is displayed daily in his advocacy for education, civil rights, and equal opportunity for all of our neighbors. He is a native of Bartow, Florida, where he attended Bartow High School, and later Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is married to Mrs. Andrea P. Williams, and they have two lovely daughters. Mr. Speaker, I ask everyone to join me in thanking Pastor Williams for leading today’s opening prayer, and I thank him for his outstanding service to the St. Petersburg community.
Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:
Our Father and our God, we are grateful for this Nation, its vastness, its beauty. Truly, we live in a land of milk and honey. Help us, we pray, to protect and preserve it so that its grandeur and fullness always remains.
We are grateful for our people. A Nation of many cultures, from many different cultures, from many different races, many different religions, help us to love each other. We are grateful for our history, a rich, gleaming heritage, a heritage born from a spirit to be free; one moment defending freedom, at other times struggling to find it. Forgive us for the times that we have missed the mark. We are grateful for our leaders. Lord, bless the Members of this Chamber and the leadership of our great Nation. Help these Members own our country’s problems and work to find solutions.
Finally, we are grateful for our future. Lord, bless the United States of America to be Your champion of righteousness that, supported by Thy powerful hand, we will establish Thy justice among nations and among men.