The Episcopal Church can feel like a place of only one or two degrees of separation on those days when a tragedy strikes, and everyone is frantically trying to find out if the people to whom they feel a special connection are okay. Episcopal News Service did the church a service yesterday by getting on top of the Episcopal connection to the Boston Marathon bombing quickly. Here is Mary Frances Schjonberg’s story:
The seven runners from Trinity Church Copley Square who were competing in the Boston Marathon to raise money for the church’s anti-violence initiative escaped injury in the two explosions that ripped through the race’s finish line that is within 300 yards of the church’s front porch.
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts announced that it will hold a prayer service with Holy Eucharist at 12:15 p.m. April 16 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, with Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris presiding, “assuming downtown conditions and transit have regularized.” …
“Downtown church personnel reached so far report chaos in the Back Bay area and limited mobility,” the diocese reported at 5:30 p.m. April 15. Emmanuel Church at 15 Newbury Street reports no damage, the report said, and the cathedral had cancelled its Monday evening community meal because volunteer servers couldn’t make it into the city.
An hour earlier, Bishop Tom Shaw requested prayers “for the City of Boston and all affected by and responding to this afternoons explosions” and said that diocesan staff were checking in with downtown Episcopal churches.
Some Massachusetts churches responded to the tragedy by gathering in prayer.
The Rev. Timothy Schenck, rector of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, announced on Facebook that the parish would hold a 7 p.m. prayer service.
“All are invited as we pray for the victims of today’s tragedy in Boston and try to make sense of this in the context of our faith,” wrote Schenck, who ran the marathon himself in 2008. “Please spread the word.”
And for extra measure, here is a reflection by the Very Rev. Sam Candler, dean of St. Philip’s Cathedral in Atlanta.