A city blessed: Destin celebrates Blessing of the Marketplace

Savannah Vasquez
Elected officials from the city, county, state and federal governments receive a blessing during the Blessing of the Marketplace Wednesday.

Hundreds of people from more than 16 business industries gathered Wednesday afternoon for the 13th Annual Blessing of the Marketplace event at Destin United Methodist Church.

From elected officials and construction workers to hospitality groups and medical professionals, representatives from every industry in Destin paused work for an hour to receive blessings from local clergy.

“This is a family reunion for me,” former mayor Mel Ponder said to the crowd. “Each one of you is significant, without you we wouldn’t be the city we are today. We want you to walk away empowered, feeling renewed and knowing that God has a vital role for you in our city.”

After singing “God Bless America” as the opening prayer, 14 clergy members from different congregations in Destin were recognized as members of the collective Church of Destin. These clergy members were later assigned different industries to pray over.

Keynote speaker for the event was Marwan Rifka, the executive vice president at OneHope; a ministry that works with local churches around the world to reach youth with the gospel message.

As this was Rifka’s first visit to Destin, he said he was excited to see a city-wide event such as the week of blessings.

“It’s really great and a privilege to observe what is going on here,” he said. “We pray that you continue to do what you do because you are planting seeds in your community.”

Rifka went on to encourage the crowd to serve the city with their time, talents and treasures and to always remember to hold on to the core values of humility, generosity, passion and integrity.

“He or she who has hope and he or she who has passion (has) everything,” he said. “For those who want to step into this position I believe it is our time to model it, it’s our time to lead.”

After the speech, an offering was collected to help off-set the cost of the event and the excess money will be donated to a local non-profit organization at a later date. Finally, the crowd broke into groups representing 16 different industries and Destin clergy members led business-specific prayers for each group.