Chaplain Jonathan Rainey closes his eyes while delivering a sermon during the Snohomish County Prayer Breakfast on Friday, April 7, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Chaplain Jonathan Rainey closes his eyes while delivering a sermon during the Snohomish County Prayer Breakfast on Friday, April 7, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

‘Make love your motivation in everything you do’

Hundreds gathered Good Friday for the Snohomish County Prayer Breakfast, the first time it was held in Everett since the pandemic.

EVERETT — Snohomish County residents packed the ballroom Friday morning at Angel of the Winds Arena for Christian prayer and worship, welcoming Easter weekend over breakfast.

The 500 tickets sold out in February, after less than a week on sale.

As with many “firsts since COVID,” the room had the festive feeling of a reunion, with folks greeting old friends and making new ones. It was a stark contrast to the gray, misty weather outside.

The event’s co-chair Steve Chittenden said he hadn’t slept well, even though he “felt confident things would come together.” After the breakfast, he said, “It couldn’t have been better.”

The other co-chair, Jeff Judy, emceed the event, which included prayer, Bible readings, songs led by the Slavic worship team from Spring of Life Church, and speaker Jonathan Rainey.

After welcome and a prayer, the crowd joined in enthusiastically to sing “How Great is Our God.” Then, the food: bacon, eggs, potatoes and fruit.

Rainey, chaplain for the University of Washington football team and co-chaplain for the Seahawks, spoke about the Biblical stories of Easter weekend, including the Jewish Passover and the death and resurrection of Jesus. He emphasized a message of love and unity — with some football stories mixed in, too, of course.

“Make love your motivation in everything you do,” Rainey said, sharing how the UW team came together this season around a “culture of love.”

God also wants Christians to reach out into the community, he said.

“We do this most effectively when we are unified,” Rainey said, noting that unity doesn’t mean uniformity.

The message of loving neighbors and coming together resonated with Todd Marshall, of Everett. It was his first prayer breakfast, even though he has lived in the community for about 30 years.

“I thought it was inspirational,” Marshall said, calling Rainey “awesome.” He felt challenged to live out his faith in the community and in the workplace, to serve and love everyone, whether they are homeless or a Seattle Seahawk.

Linda Bontrager, of Lake Stevens, attended with others from the Deaf Assembly that is part of the Bethany Christian Assembly in Everett. She felt glad to be included, as her daughter interpreted for her, saying “often we’re the last to know anything. It was such a blessing to be here.”

Rainey “was a wonderful speaker,” Bontrager said.

For folks who wanted to connect immediately to local ministries, tables lined the outside of the ballroom, ranging from Hand in Hand to the Everett Gospel Mission. People could also go to one of four rooms to pray for their specific region of the county.

Chittenden said he’s looking forward to next year.

“COVID has separated us,” he said. “We need to be in unity. The church is a big way to do that.”

Joy Borkholder is the health and wellness reporter for The Daily Herald. Her work is supported by the Health Reporting Initiative, which is sponsored in part by Premera Blue Cross. The Daily Herald maintains editorial control over content produced through this initiative.

Joy Borkholder: 425-339-3430;; Twitter: @jlbinvestigates.

Talk to us

More in Local News

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

Diane Kay Thompson, center, listens during their sentencing at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington on Friday, Sept. 15, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville woman sentenced to 2 years for running over, killing husband

Diane Thompson pleaded guilty to manslaughter. “My home was taken, my daughters hate me and I have no money to my name,” she said.

The Marysville Municipal Jail is pictured Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Marysville weighs mandatory jail time for repeated ‘public disorder’

The “three strikes” proposal sets a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail for crimes like public drug use and trespassing.

A girl walks her dog along a path lined with dandelions at Willis D. Tucker Community Park on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023, in Snohomish, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Spraying in Willis Tucker Park resurfaces debate over herbicides

Park staff treated about 11,000 square feet with glyphosate and 2,4-D. When applied correctly, staff said they aren’t harmful.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
County Council delays vote on requiring businesses to take cash

Concerns over information and enforcement postponed the council’s scheduled vote on the ordinance Wednesday in Snohomish County.

Thrill-seekers fly through the air on a ride during opening day of the Evergreen State Fair on Thursday, August 24, 2023, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Evergreen State Fair attendance dips 9% from 2022

Slightly over 228,000 people attended the fair this year in Monroe, down from 253,000 last year and 355,000 in 2019.

Most Read