The Office of the Chaplain United States House of Representatives

Reverend Benjamin K. Watts

Shiloh Baptist Church
New London, CT

Sponsor: Rep. Rep. Rob Simmons, (R-CT)
Date of Prayer: 10/25/2001

One Minute Speech Given in Recognition of the Guest Chaplain:

Mr. SIMMONS. Mr. Speaker, I rise to address the House to introduce the Reverend Benjamin K. Watts of the Shiloh Baptist Church in New London, Connecticut. Reverend Watts is known in the community as a preacher, a teacher, and a community leader. It is a reputation that is well deserved and is well documented.

He is vice–president–at–large of the Connecticut Missionary Baptist State Convention. He is on the board of directors of the Lawrence and Memorial Hospital. He heads up the Shiloh Development Corporation, the United Way, and he is a member of the Hartford Seminary. He is also a member of the New London Rotary Club and a member of the New London Chapter of the NAACP.

Reverend Watts is a leader in using faith–based initiatives to help his fellow man and his community. Working through the Shiloh Development Corporation, which was established in 1992, he provides community assistance and food, housing, education, and many other social services.

On behalf of my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, I thank the Reverend Watts for leading us in prayer today, I welcome him to this House of Representatives, and I appreciate very much his
presence, his guidance and his blessing on this House as we begin our critical work today and into the future.

Opening Prayer Given by the Guest Chaplain:

Our God who has been our heritage in ages past, our help in this present darkness, our hope in years to come, our healer from the storm and blast and our eternal home, we lay bare before Thee our lives, without disguise, without sentimentality, without pretension, but utterly as we are, we come to Thee. Cast out our fears and our anxieties and the uncertainties which envelop us as we think about the threats to our way of life.

Help us, O God, to manage the imperfections of our private lives that our public lives may give witness to courage and faith. Give us clear insight and focus that will allow the fragmentations and divisiveness of this world to be turned into wholeness. Help our highest thoughts and intents to become a positive reality and, at the very least, let them be a guidepost to the highest good.

Our Nation has been rocked by crumbling walls of disappointment and near despair. We thank Thee that though tempted to panic by disordered thinking, calmness, caring and compassion has been the solution for the men and women of this Nation. We are grateful for the secret revealed in this present crisis, that the souls that turned to Thee are able to control their emotions and perform acts of faith. Grant these civil liberties inner quietness of spirit that they may function in the midst of these days. Grant them disciplined courage that may meet the mounting pressures of the new world we face together.

As we as a Nation turn to Thee, allow our private thoughts and our private hopes and our private desires to be illuminated and enlarged that they may become one with Thy great will. We pray for the brave men and women who are preserving this great democracy on distant battlefields. We are mindful that their efforts allow us to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Spare us from national turmoil. In these perilous days turn the clouds of mourning into the radiant light of joy. Frustrate those organized principalities and powers of wickedness, enable us to radiate righteousness until all lawlessness shall cease. Grant this Congress discernment to stand, deliverance from all graft, devotion to ultimate good, and diligence in grace. As they stand in the gap leaning and depending upon Thee, may their centering consciousness and courage be a beacon–light to all Americans that this Nation shall prevail. Bless our President, his Cabinet, Congress, and the Military to continue to protect and preserve the fruits of peace for our present generation and for generations to come. Amen.

To learn more about Members who have sponsored a Guest Chaplain, please visit the Congressional Biographical Directory