National Day of Prayer 2015

Today is the National Day of Prayer. In the City of Lumberton, there's usually a big event held in the evening with most area pastors at the Ben Barret Community Center with Minister Paul Ockmond serving as the host. For some unknown reason, this year's event has been downsized and relegated to the board room at City Hall at 12:30. I find it odd that during the tenure of a mayor that's constantly asking for prayer there will be a shift from an event that encouraged community and corporate prayer. Most residents in Lumberton knows that Mayor Ben Winston can be found at the four way stop on Main Street "praying for the city". However, his claims does not match his actions on the first Tuesdays. We all know the scripture about the prayers of a righteous man availeth much and for that reason, I wonder if Winston is praying for the city or preying on the city?

Winston proclaimed that he was elected to unify the City of Lumberton. My question is where is the unity, the accountability, the voice of the citizens. Citizens can't ask questions at a board meeting without getting into an argument with an alderman or getting thrown out by the mayor. Winston made an intereting statement at the last board meeting and it showed that his allegiance is with those employed by the city and not with those who cast their votes in the elections. The call for integrity, honesty and fairplay falls on deaf ears because the voice of the voters is not heard and people wonder why Lumberton is the joke of the state. What does it matter if voices get raised? Winston is a minister and business meetings at some churches result in more raised voices. I've been to some business meetings where they bordered on jumping the pews and swinging from the chandeliers but they continued until everyone was heard and a solition was reached. This board does not want to invest the time to allow citizens the opportunity to voice their concerns.

What's missing in tnis administration is the opportunity to dialogue. Everytime a citizen has an opposing view, they're labeled anti-Lumberton for standing up for what's right. It's easy to take a few minutes at each board meeting to allow the mayor to give his speech or lip service about his ideas of reaching out as long as your input as a citizen is 2 minutes or less. Call me jaded, but I recall a board that never allowed the mayor to address the public but by allowing Winston a platform for his monthly rhetoric, the board sees this as progress but it's not. Progress is having access to public records not being told you can't because they're processing water bills. Progress is the ability to go to city hall and get truthful answers not circling your wagons to support people that lie as effortlessly as they breathe. Progress is providing police protection not constantly cutting their staff. Progress is the ability to question water billing errors without fear of being arrested. Progress is getting an accurate water bill. Progress is making an attempt to hear the citizens and follow up with a response. So excuse me if I view your claims of reaching out as a symbolic gesture with no meaning because every time you reach out it feels like you're throwing punches.


  1. So what's really going on? Paul Ockmond always organized the National Prayer Day event. Why has he backed out this year? Has he and his buddy Ben fallen out or is he still pouring because Mr. Informer demolished him with scriptures after he tried to challenge him?


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