ALBUQUERQUE (BNM) - The Baptist Convention of New Mexico’s Christian Life Committee has set February 10 as the date for the 2021 Capitol Prayer Gathering. It will begin at 6:00 p.m. The annual event, adapted for COVID-19 pandemic requirements, gathers New Mexico Baptist to pray for state legislators and leaders during the yearly legislative session in Santa Fe.

This year, unlike 2020’s dinner, is an online event led by 28 prayer leaders and name readers from across the state. In total, volunteers helping to host the meeting will include 37 in-meeting leaders and behind the scenes technical crew. The convention’s Information Services Team is assisting the CLC. The BCNM’s new executive director, Steve Ballew, is also participating as a meeting leader.

The online event is free and is projected to last about 45 minutes. Churches and individuals are encouraged to participate. Only an internet connection is needed. The event will be available via Zoom and Facebook Live. The CLC is not asking churches to organize additional group meetings, due to pandemic concerns, but churches already holding Wednesday evening meetings are encouraged to include the Prayer Gathering into their existing mid-weeks services.

Free registration is required. The CLC requests that participants on the Zoom meeting leave their cameras on so legislators can see New Mexican’s praying for them. Individuals wishing to remain off-camera can participate via Facebook Life. Links and connection information will be provided to each registrant along with a participant guide.

Registration and information is available at the event website www.bcnm.com/CapitolPrayer. The event website also features downloadable promotional resources that churches can use to promote the event to their members through bulletins, on-screen announcements, social media and email.

For years, the convention hosted the Legislative Prayer Breakfast in Santa Fe during the first week of a legislative session. In recent years, attendance by officials waned and costs increased. To preserve the event and revive its effectiveness, in 2020, the event refocused on prayer, eliminating the traditional guest speaker. Rebranded as the Capitol Prayer Dinner, the event also left its traditional location at the Hilton hotel near the Roundhouse. It was held at First Baptist Church, Santa Fe, and drew the largest legislative participation in years. The event hosted 72 total attendees.

During the 2020 dinner, attendees gathered around tables and prayed as groups, guided by a name caller. Every legislator’s name was called out, as well as state officers, Supreme Court justices and Public Regulation Commission members. Names were called out in groups with pauses for prayer around the tables between them. Afterward, former BCNM Executive Director Joseph Bunce read and guided the meeting through praying the Lord’s prayer.

The 2021 event will follow a similar pattern of calling names in groups and praying for each group. Two on-camera hosts will guide the meeting and explain how to participate. In coordination with the online event, legislators and state leaders receive an appreciation gift from the convention for their service and assuring them of New Mexico Baptists’ prayers for them and their families.

The CLC is gathering additional resources that will help New Mexican’s continue to pray for state leaders after the meeting is over. Continued prayer for government leaders is the committee’s larger goal.

The CLC, composed of six members elected by the convention at its Annual Meeting, engages New Mexicans in prayer for state leaders and in Christian activism on social and moral issues being address in the state’s legislature. Members of the 2020-2021 committee are John Pugh, Troy Grant, Skip Hemperley, Jerry Walker, Carlos Pino and Lori Bova.

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