The pastor of a Bridgeville church has been selected to give the opening prayer when the U.S. House of Representatives gather at noon today in the Capitol building.
Bryan Thiessen, who is pastor of on Prestley Road, was selected by Congressman Tim Murphy to give the invocation and lead the Pledge of Allegiance. With 435 congressmen, it’s an honor that comes around to religious leaders in this area only once every few years.
“I’m sure this is exciting for him,” Murphy told Chartiers Valley Patch. “To be able to give the opening prayer is very rare. I’m sure the issue is more about delivering the message. It’s still a good tradition every day that Congress (starts) with the prayer and the Pledge.”
Murphy, a Republican from Upper St. Clair, said the two spoke about the congressman’s recent trip to Israel, and the political and religious tensions in the region. Thiessen, who could not be reached for comment, showed an interest in the issues and was excited about the opportunity lead Congress in prayer.
“Great guy. We’re excited about this,” Murphy said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for him.”
A secretary at the church said Tuesday morning that the pastor was already in Washington D.C. and would not be back until Wednesday. She described him as a “humble guy” who is “laid back about the situation.”
Murphy said he would be his guest during the day as he shows him around the nation’s capital. Murphy added that despite deep divisions in the country and Congress, the daily prayer is a strong tradition that “gives us a chance to reflect” on what unites them.
“We’re looking forward to hearing his message,” Murphy said.
Thiessen, who originally is from Missouri, became the lead pastor of the Journey Assembly of God Church in April 2011. He also guides 35 churches in Christian education programs and ministries in this region.