With praise: Service kicks off Natchez Tricentennial
Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 3, 2016
NATCHEZ — Most birthday memories consist of cake, streamers and candles. But when Natchez residents remember the start of the city’s 300th birthday celebration, they’ll remember it started with prayers for God’s blessings and guidance.
The city’s tricentennial celebrations officially began 10 a.m. Saturday with a Unity, Prayer and Praise Celebration at the Natchez City Auditorium.
“It all begins with God, and it is very appropriate for us to recognize God’s blessings in Natchez,” chair of the tricentennial faith and religion committee Karen Dardick said.
Email newsletter signup
Mary Lucas shared Dardick’s feeling. Lucas came to the celebration to see what was going on with the tricentennial.
“I figured that if it started out praising God, it would be successful,” Lucas said.
During the event, musicians and choirs performed everything from traditional hymns to a violin rendition of “I Dreamed There Was No War” by The Eagles. The songs were punctuated by psalm readings from community leaders such as Sheriff-elect Travis Patten and Vincent Green of Holy Family Church.
Green, who is also a member of the faith and religion committee, read Psalm 51, which asks for God to “create in me a pure heart” and added a few words of his own.
“Make Natchez prosper in your good pleasure,” Green said.
The desire to see Natchez prosper was a common theme, regardless of the faith of the speaker or musician. During the opening prayer, Natchez Tricentennial Commission Executive Director Jennifer Ogden Combs asked for God to be with the city as it went into its 300th year.
“Humbly we ask for your continued blessings and guidance,” Combs said.
By the time the service ended, attendees had heard from several different community members, officials and representatives of different faiths.
Sharman Hart said she particularly liked seeing Cantor David Goldblatt of Temple B’nai Israel perform “Mi Shebeirach,” a musical blessing.
“I thought it was a great idea for the city to come together and start the year off with prayer and the unity that they all talked about,” Hart said.
Natchez Tricentennial Commission member Dennis Switzer was also pleased the event brought so many people of diverse religions and cultures together.
“I just hope that the whole tricentennial year is something like this,” Switzer said. “If it is, it’ll be a big success.”