Prayer Vigil at Unity of Syracuse

WTB joined Unity of Syracuse to celebrate the 2013 World Day of Prayer and remember those who died on 9/11/01 with a prayer vigil, an interfaith service and acts of kindness. The day began with a 12-hour prayer vigil from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM; a continuous stream of people came to hold the names of those on prayer lists in silent prayer. Joy Pople, Patti McGuire and Gay Montague participated in this part of the day.

Rev. Edith Washington, Pastor of Unity and Vice President of WTB, led a moving interfaith service from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Over 50 people in attendance heard prayers for peace from ten spiritual traditions and reports of acts of kindness from WTB’s and Unity’s joint project.

Rev. Edith welcomed the congregation warmly. She noted it was fitting for Unity to host this service as Unity honors all spiritual traditions and holds a fundamental belief in the power of prayer. As each interfaith participant was introduced, he or she rose to offer a short prayer for peace. Dean Tiffany Steinwert from Syracuse University’s Hendricks Chapel represented United Methodists. Dean Tiffany and her children (the Steinwert Arrowood family) led a responsive prayer for peace. Rev. Simone Montgomery representing Christian Science gave a prayer-reading of “The Lord’s Prayer” with its spiritual, inclusive interpretation from Mary Baker Eddy’s book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. Bill Cross, a layperson from the Zen Center, offered an ancient Buddhist meditation entitled “Metta.” This prayer calls for loving kindness toward self, family, neighbors, strangers, enemies and ultimately the entire universe. Danya Wellmon, representing Islam, recited a meaningful passage from the Qur’an. WTB President Joy Pople read the “General Thanksgiving” prayer from the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican/Episcopal tradition. Nancy Shepard and Daryl Files offered prayers from the Roman Catholic and Jewish religions respectively. As the Onondaga Nation was unable to send a representative, Unity member Jeff Colebrook rose to pray for peace from the Native American tradition. Rev. Edith read the “Prayer for Protection” written by Unity poet James Dillet Freeman in 1941. A copy of the poem was in Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s pocket when he first walked on the moon in 1969.

The Light of God surrounds me.
The Love of God enfolds me.
The Power of God protects me.
The Presence of God watches over me.
Wherever I am, God is!

Rev. Edith asked if anyone in the congregation would like to offer up a prayer. Kate Farrar, a member of Unity Church, responded with a prayer from the Hindu religion.

WTB has an annual project in which members do “Acts of Kindness” in remembrance of those who died on 9/11/01. Unity joined WTB this year in calling for 3,000 Acts of Kindness by September 12—-at least one act for each person who died. While our goal was not reached by this date, an estimated 750 Acts of Kindness were reported. Danya Wellmon shared some specific A-OKs (large and small) with the congregation.

Those who attended were moved and uplifted by this beautiful, intimate service. It was deeply inspiring to experience Anglican, Buddhist, Christian Science, Methodist, Muslim, Native American, Roman Catholic, Unity and Hindu traditions coming together to pray for peace in the world, in our relations with one another, and in each person’s heart.