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story.lead_photo.caption Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, middle, visits with Sheena Greitens and Gov.-elect Eric Greitens at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast on Jan. 5, 2017. It was Greiten's first and Nixon's eighth and final time as governor at the annual event. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Tickets are still available for the annual Missouri Governor's Prayer Breakfast, which will begin at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 4 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.


The breakfast is organized by a special committee and has taken place since the mid-1950s.


It began "as an extension of the National Prayer Breakfast, which was first held in 1953," according to the event website, missourigpb.com.


Tickets are $35 per person or $350 for a table and can be reserved on the website.


Proceeds from the breakfast support the Governor's Student Leadership Forum on Faith and Values, which "brings together select Missouri college juniors for a three-day study of faith and leadership," according to the website. "Participants explore the role faith has played in the lives of business executives, sports figures and government officials."


Jefferson City businessman Clyde Lear has organized the Governor's Student Leadership Forum since its inception in the early 1990s.


This year's breakfast is the first with Gov. Eric Greitens as the host.


The public is invited to attend the "interfaith event for all leaders and citizens of our state," the website says. "Its purpose is to seek God's guidance for our political leaders as they begin the legislative session."


The breakfast comes the morning after the General Assembly begins its regular session for the year.


This year's guest speaker is the Rev. Don Hinkle, public policy director for the 600,000-member Missouri Baptist Convention, the state's largest non-Catholic Christian denomination.


A Nashville, Tennessee, native, Hinkle has been a journalist for more than 40 years and came to Jefferson City in 2002 as the founding editor of "The Pathway" when it was created to replace "Word and Way" as the MBC's official newspaper.
He earned a bachelor's degree in English from Christopher Newport University, Newport News, Virginia, and two master's degrees — one in Christian education and the other in theology — from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.


Hinkle also has completed post-graduate studies at the WORLD Journalism Institute in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


He is currently a Colson Fellow with the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview in Lansdowne, Maryland.


Music for the breakfast will be provided by Pastor Lamont Walker and the Voices of Power and Glory — generally known as VPAG — from Columbia's United Community Cathedral.


"Their mission is to expand their reach, penetrate hearts, impact the community and change the world," according to the prayer breakfast website.

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