Tuesday August 22, 2017

A Circle of Hope, a Prayer for Peace

By Cari Zahn '18

The UD community came together to pray for peace during campus ministry’s Prayers of the Heart Service Thursday. The service was dedicated to the recent racial hostilities  in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Approximately 70 people gathered around the Peace Pole behind the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception to offer prayers not only for peace in the world but also for the targets of discrimination and hate in Charlottesville.

“It’s especially important that we be gathering when something in particular happens that is harmful to members of the world community or our campus community. Charlottesville is one of those things,” said Crystal Sullivan, director of campus ministry and a member of the Prayers of the Heart Planning committee.

The Prayers of the Heart committee holds a gathering once a month to pray for healing, empathy, awareness, reconciliation and transformation, but members of the UD family were not the only people in attendance for this particular service.

Among the circle of people holding little blue flags decorated with black peace signs was Andrew Wright, pastor of the Church of the Brethren. Wright traveled from New Carlisle, Ohio to attend the prayer service after hearing about it on the news.

“We are eagerly searching for a group to be a part of to show the world and ourselves that we are going to be an active part of the solution,” Wright said.

To inspire that solution, the service not only allowed attendees to engage in a community prayer for peace and change but also called for a commitment to action, an important aspect for Calla Couch, graduate assistant in campus ministry.

“If we don’t start from a place of peace within ourselves, then there’s no way you can bring peace to any other situation,” Couch said. “It’s helpful to gather together and figure out where people are at and what’s the best way to respond.”

When prayer and petition concluded, attendees placed their flags in the ground around the pole and offered each other a sign of peace, the conclusion of an event that is, according to Sullivan, a prophetic witness of prayer.

On Aug. 13, President Eric F. Spina released an official statement relaying a series of tweets he posted, one of which stated, “I pray for greater wisdom & kindness in our nation, respect for the dignity of every person and the radical spread of love to overcome hate.”

The Prayers of the Heart service is held the third Thursday of every month at 12:15 p.m. at the Peace Pole, rain or shine. The public is welcome to attend.

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