Nellie Crump Thomas prays at the New Year’s Day program at Fifth Baptist Church in the West End. The audience included leaders of Richmond City Council and the School Board, incoming Richmond state Sen. Ghazala Hashmi and other area elected officials. The Baptist Min- isters’ Conference of Richmond and Vicinity, led by the Dr. Emanuel C. Harris, hosts the event to remember the day when President Abraham Lincoln issued his Civil War proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863, freeing slaves in the South. The Rev. Ricardo Brown, co-pastor of Fifth Baptist Church, served as chair of the program that also raises money for area NAACP branches.