Mayor's Prayer Breakfast set for April 17
This year's Mayor's Prayer Breakfast in Woodburn on April 17 will be the first in many years to be a combined effort between the city's two Kiwanis clubs.
The Woodburn Kiwanis Club has put on the event for decades — in fact, this is the 38th annual prayer breakfast — and this year the French Prairie Kiwanis expressed interest in joining the effort.
"Our two clubs serve with the same passion and commitment," Woodburn Kiwanis President Gina Audritsh said. "The Mayor's Prayer Breakfast is one opportunity for us to come together as a joint Kiwanis group to support our community and emulate the theme of "Being Human Kind" while supporting the children of the world."
The event runs from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Woodburn United Methodist Church. Tickets are $15 and can be obtained by going to Yes Graphics, by calling 503-881-9318 or by visiting www.woodburnkiwanis.org.
The event is sponsored by Al's Garden Center, Long Bros. Building Supply, Les Schwab, PGE, Bauman Farms, Yes Graphics, Woodburn Radiator and Glass, Curt's Body Shop and Woodburn Car Craft.
Joining Woodburn Mayor Kathy Figley at the event will be Mayor Charles Rostocil of Hubbard (Mayor Shanti Platt of Gervais was also invited but is unable to attend), who will both speak briefly before guest speaker Ewart Brown, a motivational speaker who has lived in Woodburn for 20 years. Brown actually organized the prayer breakfast in recent years as a member of the Kiwanis Club.
"Ewart has been involved with Woodburn Kiwanis and shares in the Kiwanis mission of serving others through kindness and forgiveness," Audritsh said. "When our committee looked for a speaker this year, it was appropriate to reach out to our own local community supporter."
Brown's topic of "Being Human Kind" will focus on embracing kindness and building positive relationships with others.
Brown, who was born and raised in Jamaica, will start his speech with a tragic story from his childhood that aims to inspire listeners to be more deliberate in showing kindness and concern for others in their daily interactions.
"It's about that human connection," he said. "With all people you meet, be kind."
Coming from poverty — Brown was the youngest of four sons to a single mother in a house with no electricity — he said he has much to be thankful for. He attended West Indies College and obtained a student visa to Kingsway College in Ontario, Canada. He eventually got a bachelor's degree from Atlantic Union College and a Master of Divinity from Andrews University. He served as a Seventh-Day Adventist minister for more than 30 years, the last 10 of which he did while living in Woodburn with his wife, Linda. He retired in 2008.
In addition to the ministry, Brown is a motivational speaker, recording artist (he has four albums and has performed in various venues around the world) and his third book, "A Candy a Day Keeps the Doctor Away" will be available this summer.
"It's about how we should live every day with the goal to make someone's day better," he said.
Brown's motivational speaking circuit, which includes businesses, schools, and religious and civic organizations across the country, has kept him busier than in his pre-retirement years. But it's for good reason he says, to share his own heightened consciousness of sharing positivity.
"I had to be out there with people," Brown said. "Of course, the church was big on evangelism, to bring people to the church. but I am big on developing people. People need God, but I think they need one another equally."
Brown, who is now 74, shows no sign of slowing down in spreading the message of kindness.
"It ends when I take my last breath," he said. "I'm about making people feel good. But I can't do it alone. I need other people so that it will spread."