A small crowd filtered slowly into the chapel. Whispered conversations, rasps of clothing, and occasional coughs filled the air. Through the service, church members and visitors hoped to find a voice for families struggling with issues from addiction to separation at the border.
Rev. Kemper Huber welcomed the group, explaining why the church chose to hold the service. Last week, he said, the children of the congregation attended Vacation Bible School.
“Every day that would take place.” He paused. “And every day we would go home and see these kids on the news who weren’t blessed.”
After a hymn of praise and a scripture reading, Director of Discipleship Russ Pearson read an adapted poem by Ina Hughes, “We Pray for Children.” The poem describes children from two distinct worlds: a world of comfort and safety and a world of fear and loneliness. It ends in a line that expresses the purpose of the prayer service: “We pray for all children, O God, that they could have someone stand up for them when they have no voice.”
After the prayer for children, Rev. Sharon Amstutz led a prayer for families.
“God gave us families to give us refuge and a home,” she said, before praying for new parents, single parents, blended families, impoverished families, families separated by incarceration or raised by grandparents and families separated in the search for a better life.
The service also included prayers for those affected by addiction and those who feel outcast or downtrodden.
“We pray for young children who are forced to grow up too fast,” said Amstutz of the kids affected by these issues.
At the conclusion of the service, Rev. Huber prayed: “May we reconcile this world.”