Bradford County Ten Commandments monument dedicated
Starke National Day of Prayer observance backdrop
May 4, 2012

Starke businessman Harry Hatcher speaks May 3 at the Bradford County Courthouse ceremony dedicating a new Ten Commandments monument. James A. Smith Sr.
STARKE (FBW) – Bradford County citizens dedicated a new Ten Commandments monument at their County Courthouse in Starke May 3 as part of the community’s observance of National Day of Prayer.

Replicating six-ton, granite monuments erected in recent years in other Florida communities with the sponsorship of businessman Joe Anderson, the Bradford County monument is a privately funded display granted by the County Commission in the government facility’s courtyard in Starke, community leader Harry Hatcher told Florida Baptist Witness May 3.

Hatcher, the owner of a local restaurant and member of First Baptist Church in Starke since 1953, said members of the interdenominational Community Men’s Fellowship, which he leads every week, have raised $18,000 towards the total cost of $22,000 for the monument.
About 250 Bradford County citizens gathered May 3 in the courtyard of the Courthouse for the National Day of Prayer and to dedicate a new Ten Commandments monument. James A. Smith Sr.
“It’s not only important for this community,” Hatcher said of the Ten Commandments. “It’s important for any community. It’s important for individuals.”

The Decalogue enshrined in a monument on display in the community “is very symbolic of God’s love for mankind,” he said.

God “knew what was best by giving us these commandments. And then when man couldn’t keep these commandments, Jesus shed His blood at Calvary’s cross” for humanity’s sins, he said. 

“That’s what I hope people see from this Ten Commandments monument,” Hatcher said, adding that the monument is a reminder “we’re totally dependent upon Him and I hope that will remind us day-by-day about that.”

Dan Davis, a retired Army colonel and pastor to senior adults at Mandarin Baptist Church in Jacksonville, speaks on the importance of prayer May 3 at the Bradford County Courthouse. James A. Smith Sr.
Hatcher told the Witness his group – which has been in existence for 20 years – has watched “with great interest” the legal challenge to the Ten Commandments monument in Dixie County. The county is currently appealing a ruling last July by a federal judge finding the monument unconstitutional.

The monument dedication was held as part of the annual observance of the National Day of Prayer led by Bradford County coordinator Laura Finley, a member of Northside Baptist Church in Starke, where her husband is pastor. About 250 people gathered in the County Courthouse courtyard for the hour-long event.

Like NDP events around the country, prayers were offered for local, state and federal government leaders, the military, business and community leaders, churches and families.

The new, six-ton, granite Ten Commandments monument in the courtyard of the Bradford County Courthouse was dedicated May 3 as part of the communitys National Day of Prayer observance. James A. Smith Sr.
Dan Davis, pastor to senior adults at Mandarin Baptist Church in Jacksonville, spoke on the significance of prayer.

“Prayer is of paramount importance,” said Davis, who retired as colonel after serving more than 30 years in the U.S. Army.

“Prayer is omnipotent – it can do anything that God can do,” he said.

Davis said prayer is also omniscient in that “all true and pleasing prayer originates in the heart of God.”
Noting the moral and spiritual problems of the nation, Davis urged the audience, “Pray, dear friends. Pray.”

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