Last Friday, we attended the 50th annual Orange Coast Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast, joining more than 600 guests at the Irvine Hotel in celebrating the launch of this week’s Orange Coast Christian Outreach Week.
This was my sixth year attending, and while the event is always filled with inspiration, this year’s breakfast was particularly well done.
I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the event’s chair, Pamela Curry and her volunteer committee.
Buoyed by great performances from talented young Christian musicians and an impressive showing of OC Mayors on the dais, this year’s breakfast was filled with lighthearted humor and camaraderie along with a look at how faith has guided our country’s leaders from its inception.
Keynote speaker for the morning was actor, author and producer Kirk Cameron.
Cameron began his presentation talking about his early years in Hollywood as the popular star of the hit television series “Growing Pains,” and his then-atheist beliefs and his road to a changed life.
Cameron also told the story of making his latest film “Monumental – In Search of America’s National Treasure,” and searching for what he refers to as the ‘real national treasure of America.’ As a long-time, married father of six, Cameron spoke about his very personal journey in making the film, and the many revelations he gathered along the way. He was determined to find the answer to how to turn back around a country struggling with financial, moral, spiritual and political collapse.
With everyone playing the blame game (the Left blaming the Right, and vice-versa), Cameron decided to embark on a journey that took him throughout Europe and the U.S., researching and studying the people and families who started this country.
He had a hunch that by understanding the heroic men and women who started this country, he’d find the key to leaving his own children and forthcoming generations with a better road map to the future than the one we are currently on.
As he put it, “if you are walking on a road you know to be filled with mines, it dictates the path that you will take. If you don’t know or recognize those mines are there, you walk without a map down the road to certain peril.”
His journey and the focus of his film culminated on Allerton Street in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the National Monument to the Forefathers stands.
Cameron explained how the monument, which faces northeast to Plymouth Harbor (and roughly Plymouth, England), depicts the heroic figure of “Faith,” with her right hand pointing toward heaven and her left hand clutching the Bible.
Upon the four buttresses are seated figures emblematical of the principles upon which the Pilgrims founded the Commonwealth, each having a symbol referring to the Bible that “Faith” possesses; Morality, Law, Education and Liberty.
He went on to explain that under “Morality” stands “Prophet” and “Evangelist,” under “Law” stands “Justice” and “Mercy,” under “Education” are “Youth” and “Wisdom,” and under “Liberty” stands “Tyranny Overthrown” and “Peace.”
On the face of the buttresses, beneath “Morality” is “Embarcation,” under “Law” is “Treaty,” under “Education” is “Compact,” and under “Freedom” is “Landing.”
The front panel is inscribed thus: “National Monument to the Forefathers. Erected by a grateful people in remembrance of their labors, sacrifices and sufferings for the cause of civil and religious liberty.”
The right and left panels contain the names of those who came over in the Mayflower and the rear panel contains a quote from Governor William Bradford: “Thus out of small beginnings greater things have been produced by His hand that made all things of nothing and gives being to all things that are; and as one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many, yea in some sort to our whole nation; let the glorious name of Jehovah have all praise.”
I had never heard of the statue. As Cameron finished his presentation, I looked around at a captivated room. By revealing the statue’s meaning and message through his movie, Cameron has cast a spotlight both on the path our nation has taken and a roadmap for its future.
Not bad for a kid who started his own path as an atheist.
Columnist Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach. Reach her at [email protected].