2001 Communty Prayer Breakfast


Prayer Breakfast Speakers

Delight 1,000

with "The Ties that Bind"



by Jan Corey Arnett

Coralan Communications

What keeps a marriage together for 48 years and going strong?

Where does the strength come from to withstand the challenges of managing careers, raising children, coping with cancer, and overcoming the death of a child?

For Cedric and June Dempsey, co-speakers for the 20th annual Community Prayer Breakfast held May 8 at Battle Creek's Kellogg Arena, the answers to those questions are found in these words: faith, friendship, freedom, family, friends, fun, fitness, and forgiveness. And undergirding all: love.

The Dempseys spoke to a crowd of just over 1,000 gathered for the annual event which brings together young and old, working and retired, leaders and followers, students and teachers of any race, any religion, and from any neighborhood.

The Community Prayer Breakfast celebrates shared values while respecting one another's differences. This year's theme was "Coming Together in Faith."

Cedric Dempsey is the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. June is co-founder of the Academic Preparation for Excellence program at the University of Arizona.

Their ties to Calhoun County go back to their years as Albion College students and later Albion teachers. They then made career moves that have taken them to various parts of the country. Today they reside in Indianapolis.

An exchange program that June Dempsey helped establish with Israel has involved local people and earned her and Cedric, the Partners for Democracy Award of the America-Israel Friendship League. Sharing the platform for their remarks, they moved easily between moments of candor, banter, and introspection.

They poked fun at themselves and at one another while relating several pieces of advice based on the lessons learned in their nearly a half century together:

  • Be passionate about life.
  • Make sure you do what you enjoy and that you enjoy the journey.
  • Prepare well for whatever you choose to pursue.
  • Employ teamwork in accomplishing any task.
  • Persevere by practicing your faith.
  • Don't ever let the sun set on your anger. ("It might mean staying up very late.")
  • Don't take yourself too seriously.
  • Give one another freedom and space in order to grow.
  • Respect one another.
  • Stay physically fit.
  • Learn to forgive.


June Dempsey said it was her grandfather who inspired her to seek a faith life as she witnessed the difference faith made in his life when he would take her with him to church. Cedric Dempsey said it was his coach at Albion College, Walter Sprandel, who had the greatest influence on him as Coach Sprandel role modeled many positive attributes.

"Faith is a sustainer," the Dempseys agreed. "Now that one of every two marriages is ending in divorce it is important to find a person who shares your faith. Neither of us can imagine a marriage without love and respect."

Drawing from a Biblical passage, June Dempsey concluded by saying, "these abide but the greatest of these is love."

The Prayer Breakfast, co-chaired by Carolyn and Peter Christ, was also an opportunity for members of the community to share their faith and talents.

Rose Miller delivered the Prayer for Fellowship; the Community Brass Ensemble performed various selections; the LaMora Park Adult Choir sang "In the Sanctuary"; Ruth Lincoln offered a reading from the Torah and the Old Testament; Sam Leonard gave a New Testament reading; Ted Dearing delivered the Prayer for Family, Community, State, Nation, and World; Sally O'Dell shared a community leader's testimony; Count Laws led the singing of "Amazing Grace" and Dr. Charles Coleman gave the Closing Prayer. Susan Boyer and Roxanne Duncan assisted as sign language interpreters for the deaf.

The Prayer Breakfast was both videotaped for airing throughout May on AccessVision and audiotaped.

Audiotapes may be purchased by calling 269-968-2142.

See the Photo Essay

for images of many of the groups and individuals mentioned above.



Photo Essay page 1


Community Prayer Breakfast Main Page


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