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Reconciliation, accountability mark prayer service ahead of transition

Family and friends file in ahead of Friday's prayer service for incoming Gov. Mike Parson. Pastors touched on themes of humility and reconciliation before Parson took the oath of office. (Garrett Bergquist/KRCG 13)

Less than an hour before being sworn in as governor Friday, Mike Parson got some scriptural reminders about humility.

Family, friends and several lawmakers packed a small chapel at Jefferson City's First Baptist Church for a prayer service ahead of Friday's swearing-in ceremony. Speakers included Parson's pastor, Rev. Billy Russell, and Parson's brother, Rev. Kent Parson.

Speaking first, Russell recalled the line from the Sermon on the Mount, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." Russell said Parson would be a bridge-builder in his new role.

Rev. Parson reminded his brother of several lessons from scripture and from the life of Harry S. Truman. He warned the incoming governor there will be times when he alone will be able to make tough decisions. The elder Parson recalled the Book of Solomon, where Solomon prayed that he would have the wisdom "to judge thy people that I may discern between good and bad."

Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, said the service was well-done, especially given the circumstances of Parson's ascent to the state's highest office.

"It’s very difficult when you have a resignation of the governor and a new governor," she said. "It is a good example, though, of the peaceful transition of power.”

Also in the crowd were former Senate colleagues Mike Kehoe, Gary Romine and Doug Libla. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft led the congregation in a pair of hymns.

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