If there's a theme this week to our Saturday collection of parish news, it's one of prayer in response to violence. While most of the Anglican and Episcopal Church news this week was focused on the Presiding Bishop's visit to England and the events of the Executive Council meeting, the parish news seemed to detail the ways that people of faith are choosing to respond to violence in their communities.
For instance, in Boston this week clergy from across the city met in City Council chambers to pray together that God would act to curb the escalating street violence in the city.
From the article in the Boston Globe:
"‘The violence in the neighborhood in which we serve is intolerable,’’ said the Rev. Cathy H. George of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Upham’s Corner. ‘And it wouldn’t be put up with anywhere else that I’ve ever been in the state.’’
The City Council opens each of its weekly meetings with a prayer, but yesterday, in a show of concern about a wave of violence in which five people under 16 have been shot this spring, Council President Michael P. Ross and Councilor at Large Ayanna Pressley asked a number of clergy to come and pray.
‘This moment is about underscoring that there is power in prayer,’’ Pressley said. ‘And in times of chaos, when we cannot make sense of anything, we need to lean not to our own understanding.’’"
From here. Bishop Gayle Harris was present at the event too.
In Williamsport PA, a similar event happened this week. Led by an Episcopal priest, the community gathered in vigil and prayer to respond to the shooting of community resident.
"Stand together and be unified in that because the more people know that we are peaceful and that we do care, I think that builds that spirit of that and that becomes contagious," said the Rev. Lauri Kerr of All Saints Episcopal Church.
Rev. Kerr called on the community to come out to St. Paul Calvary United Methodist Church on Scott Street to speak out against violent crimes taking place in Williamsport, including the recent shooting inside an apartment just down the street that left a man dead.
In North Carolina an Episcopal congregation in Charlotte is calling for prayer in response to ongoing disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
St. John's Episcopal Church in Charlotte has asked Americans to join in a prayer vigil from 7 to 8 p.m. on Thursday. The church is holding a service but is asking other Americans to also pray during that hour.
And finally, in an interesting turn-about on this week's theme, the mother church of Arizona has called a "lawman" to lead St. Paul's in Tombstone - where Wyatt Earp was once Warden.
Joel Ireland is the new “law man” strolling Allen Street, and every other block of the once wild shoot-’em-up desert town of Tombstone.
Instead of emulating the sometimes sheriff and marshal, Wyatt Earp of Dodge City and Tombstone fame, Ireland is treading in the footsteps of renowned Episcopal priest, the Rev. Endicott Peabody, founder of the famed Groton School in Massachusetts. And when he wasn’t playing baseball or boxing, Peabody carefully launched Tombstone’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1882. That’s where worker-priest Joel Ireland is to be installed as the congregation’s new vicar, Saturday, June 26, by the Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith, Bishop of Arizona. The service begins at 11 a.m.
Ireland is a lawyer whose day job is under the Goldberg and Osborne law firm’s eagle in Tucson, his hometown. Educated at the University of Arizona, Ireland went on to the General Theological Seminary in New York City to receive his Master of Divinity degree in 1981 prior to his ordination and nearly a century after Peabody made his mark on Tombstone.