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The event, hosted at United Methodist Church and put on by Kiwanis clubs of Woodburn, featured guest speaker Ewart Brown

The Woodburn United Methodist Church was full of just over 100 community members Tuesday morning as the Kiwanis clubs in town hosted the Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.

The 38th annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast featured guest speaker Ewart Brown, a longtime Woodburn resident and motivational speaker who travels internationally encouraging people to be kind and to cultivate better relationships.

LINDSAY KEEFER - Ewart Brown was the guest speaker at the annual Mayor's Prayer Breakfast.Brown's theme of "Being Human Kind" was illustrated through a personal story about his brother. Brown was 3 years old when his 7-year-old brother went missing, only to unexpectedly return eight years later. Having been kidnapped, he had been living with an individual in an unknown village. But Brown's point was if people had noticed this boy, if they had made the effort to interact with him, how much would that have enriched his life. Yet, he said, we have the opportunity to do that every day with each other, utilizing an analogy of sharing lanes in traffic.

"When you saw my brother, did you merge into his lane? ... Did you take time to hear his heart? Were you nice?" Brown said, noting that everyone is a brother or a sister. "When you have an urge, then merge."

He added brief snippets from his own life in which people took him under their wings.

"I am who I am because someone merged into my lane cautiously," Brown said.

The breakfast, which was prepared by congregants of the Methodist church and served by members of the North Marion Key Club, also featured musical entertainment from the band Inevitable, formerly called Woodburn Rocks, and a speech by Woodburn Mayor Kathy Figley, who addressed the need to spread love and do good by using the gifts and talents we're given. Additionally, perhaps for the first time, the mayors of Hubbard and Gervais were invited to speak. While Mayor Shanti Platt of Gervais sent her regrets for not being able to attend, Hubbard Mayor Charles Rostocil spoke briefly on how Woodburn and Hubbard are part of one large community that is powered by volunteers.

The annual event runs like a regular Kiwanis club meeting, so Woodburn Kiwanis President Gina Audritsh emceed the prayer breakfast, along with French Prairie Kiwanis President Jon Betts, who closed the meeting. This year's prayer breakfast is the first in many years that has been sponsored jointly by the two clubs.

"Ewart's theme of being kind and merging was complementary and appropriate this year, as the faith-based community has merged for this event, and we merged our communities of Hubbard, Gervais and Woodburn together. As mayors Figley and Rostocil referenced, we have no boundary lines between our communities, we are merged," Audritsh pointed out. "The Mayor's Prayer Breakfast is one opportunity for (the two clubs) 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 was 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.

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