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Published:November 10th, 2012 22:20 EST
Virginia Mayor Calls for Prayer on Charlottesville`s Anniversary

Virginia Mayor Calls for Prayer on Charlottesville`s Anniversary

By SOP newswire

In a surprise letter sent to all churches, temples and centers of faith in the greater Charlottesville area, Mayor Satyendra Singh Huja has called for prayers of thanksgiving to mark the 250th Anniversary of Charlottesville Virginia this weekend. 

Charlottesville is considered by many to be the birthplace for religious freedom in Virginia and the USA for it was here that Thomas Jefferson penned the documents that eventually became the First Amendment of the constitution which guarantees freedom of religion, press and speech in the United States. 

The mayor invited pastors and leaders of the religious community to join him on Monday, November 12 for a Community Faith and Heritage prayer breakfast at the Omni Hotel to begin the actual day of commemoration. 

Mayor Huja encouraged congregations to take a few minutes during this anniversary weekend in normal worship services to mark the City`s anniversary and their congregation`s vital role in the history of the city. 

According to the Rev. Mark Beliles and other organizers of the event, about 150 leaders have already indicated a willingness to participate including representatives of the Islamic, Jewish and Sikh communities as well as some of the 300 Christian churches that meet in the city and suburbs. 

Speakers for the event include Mayor Satyendra Huja, Dr. Mark Beliles (historian and pastor), Craig Littlepage, Athletic Director of the University of Virginia, and seven representative clergy from various faith traditions and houses of worship. 

Several days of celebration mark the 250th Anniversary of the founding of the city in 1762 including a civic ceremony at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion on the Downtown Mall at 11 a.m. on Monday. 

"Since Thomas Jefferson and the founders of Charlottesville envisioned a community where there would be no state church but freedom for all to worship God as their conscience dictated, it is fitting that we should gather and thank God for His blessings on our city for these 250 years," said Mayor Huja. His is a practicing Sikh, and embodies the plurality and diversity of worship in Charlottesville. 

The Mayor`s call to prayer is unusual in Charlottesville, which hosts the University of Virginia and has gained a reputation for an extreme secularism that revises history to remove all mention of the many spiritual revivals and movements nurtured here.