A “Prayer Meeting” comment sparked a very special time of prayer and unity at the Newton County Courthouse Square this past Friday, October 26th. Two weeks ago Sheriff Billy Rowles made a comment in his weekly report stating that a deputy had a “prayer meeting” with a lady that dropped some dogs at a local dump recently. A complaint was made by a person to the Atheist group, The Freedom from Religion Foundation, out of Wisconsin following the comment. The foundation wrote a letter stating that the use of religious language was “alarming and unacceptable.” Sheriff Rowles has explained that it is a figure of speech commonly used in the south such as a “Come to Jesus Meeting”. He said the comment was actually the deputy telling her that is against the law to drop off dogs and that charges would be filed against her the next time.
Friday at noon, residents from around the East Texas area gathered to pray and show support for local law enforcement and EMTs that protect and serve our communities. The gathering was led by Melanie Smith, Captain in the Newton Volunteer Fire Department. Local pastors led the gathering in prayer for our country and for our communities. The main theme in prayer was unity and freedom in our nation. Sheriff Rowles prayed thanking God for his goodness and his help in our lives, also stating his thankfulness for the support of the community. Jackie Denman closed by thanking everyone for coming together and said that they hoped to gather weekly for prayer at noon on the square.