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Prayer service to take place on anniversary of first COVID-19 case in Freeborn County

On the anniversary of the first COVID-19 case in Freeborn County, members of the local ministerial association will host a prayer service next Thursday at the Fountain Lake gazebo.

Eileen Woyen, pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, said the service will acknowledge the milestone and pray for remembrance and hope moving forward.

The service will begin at noon at the gazebo.

Woyen said there will be prayers for those who have lost people during the pandemic and for the lives that were lived. There will also be prayers for the COVID-19 survivors, as well as those who continue to battle long-term effects from the virus. Likewise, there will be prayers for the essential workers in the community who have fought the pandemic, and prayers that the community will be able to move forward with some kind of normalcy with increased vaccinations.

In addition to prayer, there will be songs and Scripture, she said.

As of Thursday, 26 people from the county have died from COVID-19, and 3,030 cases have been reported.

The last year, she said, have been difficult for many and noted that she, herself, had an uncle who died from COVID in Ohio. She also struggled with not being able to visit her father as much as she would have liked to as he battled pancreatic cancer and recently died.

She said she knows of others who are still waiting to have proper funeral services for their loved ones who died in the last year and were unable to do so during the height of the pandemic.

As she thinks back about the last year for her personally, she said there were struggles with distance learning but she celebrated having more dinners at home with her husband and sons.

“I think I’ve said it many times, we don’t want to forget the lessons we’ve learned — to slow down and spend it with those we’ve loved,” Woyen said.

The prayer service will be shown online through the church’s Facebook page and likely shared to the pages of other churches that are also involved.

She said in the event of bad weather, the service will only be online. If it is raining, she said, she thought people would still be able to gather under the gazebo.

She hoped people who could not attend would still take that day to reflect on what has happened over the last year and where they are going in the future.