Nearly 18 months after first gathering to show support for healthcare workers and first responders, organizers are planning another prayer service set for this Monday at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital.
This Parking Lot Prayer Service is sponsored by Pastors for Transformation and the Lake Cumberland Ministerial Association. As with the first, held in April 2020, the idea came from LCRH nurse and Victory Christian Fellowship member Gina Blanton.
"This is just something that's been on my heart," Blanton said. "I talked to my pastor [Mark Harrell, who also leads PFT] about it and he was happy to help. Then there was a lady from my work who is a part of the Ministerial Association, and it was on her heart too, so she had talked to some of the pastors in her group."
Blanton is a now a Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) nurse who works from home but she used to work in ICU. Her work with local doctors was key to her realization that they could benefit from some sort of lift.
"I know what it's like just on a normal day let alone fighting this pandemic," the nurse said. "It's been very overwhelming."
About a week prior to the 2020 event, Blanton had launched the “Pray For Our Staff at Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital” Facebook page as a place for members of the community to post their prayers and words of encouragement for those who have kept the hospital operating during the pandemic. It has since grown to 2,600 members and flyers have also been sent out to local churches, but she wants to spread the word about Monday's prayer service even further.
Everyone is welcome to join organizers as they assemble in the hospital parking lot to show love, prayer and support for hospital, healthcare, nursing home, and first responder teams throughout Pulaski County. Several pastors from community churches plan to pray for each of those groups.
"We'll have a couple of worship songs mixed in," Blanton added. "Then we are going to invite anybody who would be interested to do a prayer walk around the building before we exit to our vehicles."
The service is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m on Monday, September 20. Parking attendants will be available to direct traffic. While in their vehicles, attendees are welcome to use their emergency flashers and horns to show their encouragement. If outside the vehicle, they should wear masks and practice social distancing.
Blanton is also asking the public to bring posters and cards of encouragement, which will later be posted at the entrance to remind staff as they come in and out of the facility that the community is behind them.
"I just feel like this [pandemic] is so much more prevalent and overwhelming now this year than it was when we first had [the prayer service]," Blanton said. "…They're just so tired and feeling defeated; I really felt like they could use a morale booster — just to know that the community is praying for them and wanting to lift them up."