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Local churches organize prayer for peace

Published: Jan. 10, 2021 at 10:30 PM CST
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HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s been four days since millions of Americans watched a pro-Trump mob invade the U.S. Capitol. The rebellion is what sparked several churches in Hastings to get together on Sunday to host a prayer vigil for peace and hope over the nation.

“Once again the people of our country have abandoned the commandments found in your holy word, to love you with all of hearts, soul and strength, and the call to love our neighbor as ourselves,” said Rev. Greg Allen-Pickett of First Presbyterian Church.

Rev. Stephanie Hayes is the pastor at Grace United Methodist Church and she organized the vigil. She saw the violent attack like everyone else and said she felt sick to her stomach. She believes the only way the country can move forward is with open dialogue.

“I think healing takes time, space, vulnerability, and courageous conversations,” Hayes said. “What happened last Wednesday was violent and not love, and coming together in our differences and listening and being open to try to moving forward together.”

Dozens of people gathered at the lot near the Masonic Temple in Hastings. They prayed, confessed their sins, sang hymns, and acknowledged their feelings about what happened. Then, church leaders focused the rest of the vigil on the path forward towards peace and love.

“Everyone’s broken and everyone’s flawed,” said Pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ Jessica Palys. “Our government institutions are flawed because their humans and humans are flawed, but God made us all to aspire to be something better.”

Richard Johnson attended the vigil and he was appalled by what happened.

“It was a dark day,” Johnson said. “It was an upsetting day, and I just sat glued to the television screen watching all-day-long.”

Johnson believes people need to start respecting each other despite their differences in order for the country to truly heal.

“I’m sure every person here has a different perspective and different beliefs, not necessarily different beliefs but politically probably different beliefs, and you can come together and you can pray together, you can work together, address problems together,” Johnson said.

Hayes and other church leaders wanted people to walk away with a sense of hope and there’s is a way forward from these tough times in America.

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