When Carol Matthews Gore’s husband Jim dropped the dime for the parking meter into the snow in 1978, that did it! Before it melted, they visited their beach-front condominium and decided to make their visit permanent.
In 1980, Marco’s first Chamber of Commerce executive asked Carol to organize a welcome service for newcomers. This was the gateway to knowing the businesses and many of the residents of our small island, with a population of around 1,300.
When a friend who was an assistant to their congressman produced a prayer breakfast modeled on the National Prayer Breakfast in Kokomo, Indiana, Carol never forgot the impact it had on her and was inspired to duplicate the event here on Marco Island. When her friend left politics for ministry with an international organization they booked the entire Marriott for their associate ministers. This seemed like an opportune time. John Thompson agreed to speak to an initial group of twelve to present the idea of our own Marco Island Prayer Breakfast. The vote was unanimous. From there, heads of all organizations on the island met and again it was unanimous. John Thompson, now Dr. John Thompson, minister and author, was the very first speaker.
The intent was, “To bring the community together in an acknowledgment of the need for God’s blessing in the affairs of our community and in recognition of His values as the foundation of our nation’s history.”
Thirty-five years later, Carol is amazed that the annual Prayer Breakfast is still being held. “I always said that Marco Island is a special place for special people, where our faith, character and community spirit pulls us together despite our differing beliefs and backgrounds. It is what sustains us, most recently through and after Hurricane Irma.” There is no doubt that our community has been blessed.
Appearing at first a daunting task, Carol “Gave it to God immediately,” and after initially proposing the breakfast to a group of 12 people, arranged for a second meeting at the Marriott for a wider audience. Representatives from every church plus the synagogue on Marco Island got involved and the annual event was born.
From the first speaker, Undersecretary of the Navy John Thompson to this year’s speaker, Executive Director Christa Hicks of the “Porch Light” Ministry and founder of “Into the Jordan” (where sex trafficking victims are healed through wellness, life coaching, and assistance with education and employment as well as Biblical mentorship), the Prayer Breakfast has brought us a wide variety of speaker testimonies.
This year, the Prayer Breakfast also features music performed by Billy Dean and Dawn Birch, and most importantly prayer, for our community, for those who serve us as police and fire personnel, and for our leaders in local, state, and national governments.
The breakfast will be held Monday, February 26, 2018 from 7:30-9 AM at the JW Marriott. The tickets are $25 (breakfast included) and can be purchased at local churches as well as online at MarcoIsland- PrayerBreakfast.com. All are invited!