By Courtney Dock, JFHQ/NCR-MDW Public AffairsFebruary 5, 2016
Military District of Washington chaplains teamed up with National Defense University chaplains on Fort Lesley J. McNair for their annual National Prayer Luncheon, Feb. 4, 2016.
The packed catered luncheon, co-hosted by JFHQ-NCR/MDW Chaplains Office and NDU, brought attendees from across Fort McNair to hear music, scriptures and prayers for the Nation, its leaders, Wounded Warriors, service members and families.
"We have here gathered our own distinguished group of current and future senior leaders for our military, for our nation," said Chap. (Col.) Gary Studniewski, Command chaplain, JFHQ-NCR/MDW. "We come together to pray for our country, to reflect on the importance of faith and values, and also, as in the spirit of the National Prayer Breakfast, to form relationships."
Navy Capt. Stanley W. Fornea, senior chaplain, U.S. Navy Chaplain Corps, White House Military Office was the guest speaker for the jointly hosted luncheon.
"We live in a diverse country," said Fornea. "And it grows more diverse as time goes on."
Fornea said it's easy for people to feel as though they're living in a country full of strangers as faith and religion become less mainstream. However, he said there are three key ways to remain faithful and to embrace those strangers: radical inclusiveness, precarious hospitality, and being intentionally incarnate.
"You can still maintain faith and recognize the world we live in is changing," said Fornea. "Faith is relevant. Be open to change, bring in strangers and be open to learning."
The National Prayer Luncheon is hosted by MDW and NDU annually. The luncheon coincides with the National Prayer Breakfast hosted by the President of the United States in Washington, D.C., every year on the first Thursday of February. Military commands since the 1950s have participated in a National Prayer Service annually in an effort to improve spiritual fitness and invoke Divine favor on the mission to maintain national security.
The National Prayer Luncheon is separate from the National Day of Prayer, which is observed the first Monday in May each year.