Each faith and denomination have their own shadings of belief, and their own approach to worship. But Tuesday morning, hundreds will gather together to celebrate what unites the faithful, rather than their divisions.

Eight Marco Island congregations are joining together to host the Marco Island Community Prayer Breakfast at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. A longstanding tradition, this will be the 36th annual prayer breakfast on the island.

You’ll have to get up a little early – the event begins at 7:30 a.m., to allow people to get on with their affairs afterwards. But the spirit of bringing together people of various faiths in joint recognition of the centrality of the Almighty should serve as a potent alarm clock.

“It is the intent of the Marco Island Community Prayer Breakfast to bring the community together in an acknowledgement of the need of Almighty God’s blessings in the affairs of our community and in recognition of His values as the foundation of our nation’s history,” proclaims a statement on the event’s program.

Jean Rowles will help wake up the audience as well. The worship leader for Thursday evening services at Marco Presbyterian Church, Rowles is an accomplished vocalist, and holds a BA in sacred music from Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, and post-baccalaureate certification in music education from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.

Rowles will accompany herself on keyboard, along with a guitarist from Naples. Her musical passions encompass a wide range of praise music, and extend to her first love, the jazz vocalizations of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Billie Holiday, Broadway show tunes, Whitney Houston, and ’80s alternative bands such as Depeche Mode.

“There is something about getting outside the four walls of your church and connecting with other believers. It helps us recognize our similarities rather than focus on our differences,” said Rowles.
Jean Rowles is no stranger to many on the Island. She first started visiting Marco with her family in 1997. Her parents, Kerry and Joan Rowles (who says she has been singing since she was eight months old) retired here fulltime in 2003. Jean, along with her ‘cranky cat, Pandora” decided to join them a few years later.
Rowles had been working for five years as a missionary with Full Sail Ministries based in Visalia, California, which involved stays in Phuket and Chieng Mai, Thailand, Haiti, and states including Ohio, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Prior to that she taught school in Butler, PA. As a member of Celebrant Singers she traveled throughout Central and South America. Yet she felt a restlessness for a home close to her parents and siblings, and a desire to incorporate the different facets of her life into a new adventure on Marco.

In addition to working with church ministries, Rowles became one of the founding members of the Island Theatre Company, whose most recent production was ‘Singing Broadway” held recently at the Marco Lutheran Church. 

Along with the songs she will sing herself, Rowles will lead the breakfast attendees in “God Bless America” and “Let There Be Peace on Earth.”

The keynote address will come from Dr. Greg Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. An expert on vaccination programs, he has chaired numerous panels on the topic, published over 550 scientific papers, and is editor in chief of the journal “Vaccine.”

Rabbi Mark Gross of the Jewish Congregation of Marco Island will give the invocation, after the Lely High School JROTC performs the presentation of the colors. Pastor Casey Nowlin of the Family Church will offer a “prayer for Marco leadership,” and Rev. Jessica Harris Babcock of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church will provide the benediction.

Along with the JCMI, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopal and Family Church, additional participating churches include the Wesley United Methodist Church and San Marco Catholic Church. Those interested in attending who have not yet purchased tickets, which are $30, are urged to do so as soon as possible, at participating places of worship or online at




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