Arlington Heights community leaders gathered Thursday morning to celebrate their faith and their outgoing village president as part of the Mayor's 26th annual Community Prayer Breakfast.
Business leaders joined village trustees, local school board members and residents in a morning of prayer focused on the many aspects of life in Arlington Heights for which to be grateful, and the many members of the community in need.
"This breakfast gives us a chance to take pause," said Mayor Arlene Mulder, who will retire in April after 20 years as the head of the village and more than 30 years as an elected official. "Our lives go so fast, but this morning we can take a moment of prayer to ask for guidance and motivation."
Mulder was celebrated and recognized by each speaker for her contributions to the village over the past several decades. She received a special blessing during the morning invocation.
Sister Carrie Miller of Sisters of the Living Word led the prayer, lighting two candles and giving one to Mulder while asking the room to bless her as she moves to the next stage of her life. Mulder received a standing ovation and thanked the audience for working with her and supporting her and the village over the years.
Participants also were asked to pray for those in Arlington Heights who don't have enough food or shelter and still need help from the community.
"Our lives will only be complete when we've shared the gifts we have," said Jim Platt, who gave a scripture reading from Corinthians about love -- a passage often used at weddings, but one he said describes the bonds in a strong community as well. "While it is important for us to give, it is more important for us to create opportunities for others to give as well," Platt said of the role of the many community leaders at the breakfast.
Village Trustee Bert Rosenberg spoke of the Jewish concept of "mitzvah," which can be interpreted as doing good deeds and treating others with kindness.
"Faith informs what we do as a community," said the Rev. David Abrahamson of Lutheran Life Communities, who gave the keynote address.
Abrahamson broke down the word "faith" into an acronym for how he said Arlington Heights leaders should conduct themselves -- fairness, accountability, integrity, transparency and honesty.
"It's not about what I want, but what we need and Arlington Heights is committed to that mission," he said. "Keep the faith. No, better yet, use it and share it."