A prayer service in response to recent violence

Let us walk in the light of the God of peace!

“On the evening of Wednesday, October 4 2017, the people of Berwyn United Methodist Church gathered for a prayer service,” writes the Rev. Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne, in offering the timely gift of that service to other churches in the Eastern PA Conference. Prompting it was the most recent mass shooting and tragic taking of human lives that grieved our nation’s collective heart just days earlier.

Duchesne’s husband and Berwyn UMC’s pastor, the Rev. Timothy Duchesne, adapted the liturgy from one written by John Dear in 2009 and offered to all religious groups to use for International Nonviolence Day, declared that year by the United Nations as October 2, Mahatma Ghandi’s birthday. The service offers litanies, prayers, readings from Scripture and from Ghandi’s writings, silent reflection and a Pledge of Nonviolence.

As members and guests entered the sanctuary, a prayer station invited them to “weep with those who weep.” (This device was adapted from the series of prayer stations designed by the Rev. Sheryl Dixon of Kingston Presbyterian Church in South Brunswick, New Jersey.)

The people prayed not only for those who experienced violence this week in Las Vegas but also for victims of violence and mourners around the world, said Duchesne. “At the end of the service they took a pledge to become people of ‘Gospel Nonviolence.’”

All are invited to download, adapt and use the attached service program and the photo.