About 275 law enforcement officers, family members and friends joined in fellowship at Celebration Church Sept. 4 to honor and pray for members of law enforcement.
The event was a long-time dream of Univ of Texas Chaplain Ricky Poe, who is a member of Celebration. Poe says, "An event like this has been a burden on my heart. We always had services and invited police, but never did a service just for them."
Once Pastor Joe Champion gave him the go-ahead, Poe contacted the Governor's office to invite the Lt. Governor who is working to pass the Police Protection Act. As well, 200 volunteers at Celebration helped out to produce a fourth service of the day complete with child care, live worship and a message of inspiration.
Lt. Governor Dan Patrick gave the opening sermon and paraphrased how the life of a law enforcement officer is represented in John 15:13; “The greatest way to show your love for your friends is to give your life for your friends... how many people, outside the military, really give their lives for their friends?... and by the way it’s not their friends law enforcement give their lives for; it’s a stranger in almost every case.”
He also drew from the Bible and a shared quote that police and military are "the barbed wire that separates the sheep from the wolves."
Pastor Joe Champion later emphasized how hard the life of a law enforcement officer can be—on a marriage and on children. He prayed from Nehemiah, that we will all take the example of officers and be the kind of people who don’t run or lose courage.
Poe had great praise for the targeted messages and the gift of a tailored fourth service of the day from the Pastor. "Participation like that really speaks to me and we are already preparing for the next one."
Chaplain Poe invited several elected officials to pray at the conclusion of the event and with Sheriff-elect Robert Chody, announced that in 2017, for the first time, the Sheriff's Department will institute a Chaplain's program.