The Oklahoma City United for Christchurch Prayer Vigil

The Oklahoma City United for Christchurch Prayer Vigil


THE OKLAHOMA CITY UNITED FOR CHRISTCHURCH PRAYER VIGIL

Several of St. David’s parishioners and clergy gathered with other Episcopalians and various faith groups on Sunday, March 17th at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City for the “United for Christchurch” Prayer Vigil. The Prayer Vigil gave us, as part of the local faith community, the opportunity to support our Muslim brothers and sisters in response to the shooting deaths of fifty Muslims at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on the previous Friday. Representatives from Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the Bahai’ faith; as well as numerous advocacy groups, comprised the panel which shared their support and prayers during the vigil. Afterward, all of us gathered in the mosque for an Islamic prayer service held in remembrance of the fifty Muslim victims.

Love, unity, and support were the major themes of the presentations at the Prayer Vigil. One of the first speakers, engaged us with the question: “What can we do to actively oppose hate?” Each of the following speakers responded to this question. Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City Imam Imad Enchassi stated in his opening remarks that the supportive turnout of over 400 people at the gathering, was an excellent illustration of how the response of love was winning that day. Another panel member emphasized the importance of unity, by quoting Thomas Merton who once said that “the deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion.” An additional speaker shared her experience at the Temple B’nai Israel Prayer Vigil held last October in response to the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. Everyone who attended was given a rock inscribed with a different word of hope. Her rock was printed with the word “WE.” She explained that she as “me” cannot fight the existing hate alone, but all of us as “WE” can. At the end of the Prayer Vigil, we were reminded that each one of us is important. And as long as people continue to love and support each other, hate will not have the final word. Love will have the last word.

We, from St. David’s, left the Prayer Vigil feeling strongly inspired and greatly impressed by the outpouring of love and support shown by our local faith and advocacy groups for our Muslim brothers and sisters. As a visible united force, WE will be more effective in opposing the existing hate we encounter. Love WILL have the last word.

Rev. Beth Bell and Rev. Mary Ann Coffman

Photo info from left to right: The Rev. Beth Bell, St. David's, The Rev. Mary Ann Coffman, St. David's, The Rev. Janie Kirt Morris, The Rev. Joseph Alsay, St. Augustine's, Imam Imad Enchassi, Islamic Society of Greater OKC, The Rev. Larry T. Crudup, Tabernacle Baptist Church, and The Rev. Israel Hogue, Simplicity Church.



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