The Rev. Bryan Thiessen said leading the United States Congress in a short prayer Tuesday afternoon was "a moment of a lifetime.”
The pastor of Journey Assembly of God Church said the experience in the nation’s capital was one he won’t forget as he tried to weave in a religious message that would resonate with the country’s leaders.
“Oh, man. It was just incredible,” Thiessen told Chartiers Valley Patch. “One of the greatest honors of my life. A moment of a lifetime.”
Thiessen, who has been pastor at the Bridgeville church since April, said he had to compress his message in 150 words and tried to research previous prayers at the Capitol building. He didn’t see many scripture messages from Romans 13, which mentions governing and trust in leadership.
“May these here be good stewards of this responsibility, leadership, and Your gift of freedom for our Nation,” Thiessen said in his prayer.
With the hectic schedules of the elected leaders, only 10 to 15 representatives were on the House floor during his opening prayer. However, quite a few visitors were in the upstairs gallery during his prayer.
He said Congressman Tim Murphy, who invited him to lead the opening prayer, spent nearly two hours offering an extensive tour of the Capitol. Thiessen was accompanied with a dozen other church members before they returned to the area Tuesday night.
“They made us feel like we were special,” Thiessen said. “They went out of their way to make it a special day for us.”
Thiessen and his wife, CaRanda, moved to the area earlier this year after he was offered the full-time job as a pastor. The native of Joplin, Missouri, said he always had an interest moving to Pennsylvania and is glad he found a home in suburban Pittsburgh.
“I’ve always felt drawn or called to the northeast and to Pennsylvania,” he said. “I don’t know why. I had never visited Pittsburgh before. I just felt a strong connection.”