On Sunday, Jan. 10, more than 100 people in the North West District logged in and gathered on the steps of Trinity United Methodist Church in Tallahassee for a time of prayer for our nation.
The Rev. Dr. Wayne Wiatt opened, reminding the District of the words Jesus spoke in his sermon on the mount, “blessed are the peace makers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9).
Rev. Michelle Shrader lit a Peace, Hope, and Justice candle.
“The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it,” she shared from John 1:5. Shrader called upon the people to remember the life they were baptized into and lean into the work of justice.
Leah Wiley, a United Methodist who serves as the Director for Capital City Justice Ministries, shared about two different women who were directly impacted by the riot.
She talked about the very different realities for those with White and Black skin. She called for a commitment with “every breath and action, to build community within our neighborhoods, and with those on the other side of the railroad tracks, so that one day there will be no divisions and we will all be safe and valued.”
The Rev. Dr. Kandace Brooks shared the seven-word prayer that she prayed during her three months away on sabbatical: “Show me where to put my feet.”
Brooks, the pastor of St. Paul’s UMC, shared that peace is an “active verb."
"Blessed are the peace makers, not the peacekeepers,” she said.
She added, we have “kept the peace at the expense of the very lives of our brothers and sisters.” She explained that we “pray for peace and then make peace. That’s how prayer works.”
Nick Quinton closed the evening by reminding everyone that “the two Americas that Rev. Dr. King told us about over 50 years ago, are just as evident as when he spoke them” and then led the group in their final prayer of the evening.
He called upon “God’s grace, so that others might know whose they are.”
Quinton and Shrader, the organizers of the event, agreed that even if only two or three were gathered, this time of prayer was important for the District. They gathered needed strength for the active leadership they believed was required in these chaotic days.