An Interfaith Prayer Service for the Children organized by United Fort Worth, Tarrant Churches Together, and the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth at University Christian Church drew hundreds Thursday, June 21, as well as significant local news coverage.
During the service Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faith leaders spoke about how our various faiths call us to act in love, led prayers, and in the case of Cantor Sheri Allen of Congregation Beth Shalom, led the congregation in singing.
The gathered congregation sang the hymns with fervor, many times through tears. Several people remarked that they were very emotionally touched by the crisis of the children being separated from parents seeking asylum, with emotions ranging from sorrow to anger to fear to determination.
The organizers quickly revised the service when it became clear that it 2000 candles were simply too many candles to light at once. With only half of them lit, the wax of the tea lights in the trays began leaking through the foil to create flareups of flame. So the candles were extinguished and the service was revised on the fly.
The Rev. Canon Janet Waggoner stepped up, explained the situation, and urged the crowd to take a candle home, put it somewhere where every time they saw it, they remembered the children. She urged them to take action to be a “lights in the darkness.”
The service ended with this blessing:
May God bless you with a restless discomfort about easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may seek truth boldly and love deep within your heart.
May God bless you with holy anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may tirelessly work for justice, freedom, and peace among all people.
May God bless you with the gift of tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, or the loss of all that they cherish, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and transform their pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you really can make a difference in this world, so that you are able, with God’s grace, to do what others claim cannot be done.
See more photos at the diocesan Flickr gallery. Photos are by Houston McCullough of University Christian Church.