Diocesan congregations prepare for Grand Jury announcement
Last week Bishop Wayne Smith wrote to the people of the diocese that as people of God, we do well to prepare spiritually, "Corporate and personal prayer become crucial in times like these, and I know that some congregations expect to open their doors to be places of prayer for their neighborhoods. Their doing so encourages me, and I hope that you will publicize these invitations broadly."
Current list of prayer places after the Grand Jury announcement in the diocese (list is updated with new information as it is received):
Christ Church Cathedral will be a place for the region to come together for prayer, listening and sanctuary for the 24 hours following the announcement of the decision of the Grand Jury. There will be regular times of corporate prayer, reading of scripture and community singing with the rest of the time reserved for silent prayer. Bofinger Chapel will be reserved for people who want to talk and process how they are feeling (it will not be a place of debate). There will be trained counselors and facilitators present as much of the time as possible. Dean Kinman and Canon Precentor Pat Partridge have committed to being there the entire 24 hours, and other clergy, will be present throughout the period. Bishop Wayne Smith plans to be present if he is not called elsewhere. This vigil will be held regardless of the outcome of the grand jury deliberations. There will also be a virtual 24-hour vigil on Christ Church Cathedral's Facebook and Twitter (@CCCathedralSTL) feeds so that if you cannot be with us personally, you can be linked with the prayers of the gathered community online as you pray where you are. Media articles in Riverfront Times, CBS local. UPDATE 11-24: From the moment the verdict is announced, we will be open for 24 hours for prayer. 13th and Olive downtown.Please come.
St. John's Episcopal Church in Tower Grove (St. Louis) Whatever the indictment decision and whatever the day, we will be open immediately afterward for prayer and we will hold a Prayer Vigil at St. John's at 7:00 pm that evening. St. John's may also need to serve as a "Sanctuary." Serving as a Sanctuary, as Pastor Teresa Danieley currently understands it, means that - IF there are protests in the Shaw/Tower Grove, St. John's will, of course, be available as a safe space for all people, including residents who cannot get to their homes. IF we are needed as a Santuary, "street medics" (mostly nurses and nursing students), members of the National Lawyers' Guild (legal observers), social workers, clergy, other professionals and volunteers will be on hand to handle medical, legal, spiritual, and mental health care needs of residents, protestors, and anyone else who needs a safe place to access services and care. We do not know what will happen, but we are trying to be prepared in advance. Please pray that St. John's will *not* need to serve as a Sanctuary. Please pray that there will not be ANY violence in our neighborhood or in any other neighborhood after the indictment decision. Interview with Pastor Teresa on Fox2STL. Media in Riverfront Times, More on St. John's website. UPDATE 11-24 @stjohnsTG will be open for prayer today by 3 pm. If there is an announcement, we can listen together. Pray without ceasing.
All Saints Episcopal Church in St. Louis, Ascension Episcopal Church in Northwoods, and St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ferguson. At most recent contact these three churches were not planning to hold prayer services, but were preparing to ramp up the food pantry and distribution hub at St. Stephen's Church should its services again become critical to the north communities.
Advent Episcopal Church in Crestwood: following the Grand Jury announcement, Church of the Advent will, if at all possible, be open for 24 hours for prayers for peace. UPDATED 11-24 We will gather for prayer at Church of the Advent at 7:00 pm this evening. We will say Evening Prayer followed by the Great Litany, for peace in our city. Please join us in prayer at this important moment.
Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves will open their doors at the Grand Jury announcement. They have signs to post to let the neighborhood know they are open and a safe space for prayer, reflection and conversation in a quiet space, said the Rev. Dan Appleyard, rector.
Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City plans on the day of the Grand Jury announcement to open its doors one half hour before the decision, to listen to the announcement together and pray. They will be streaming news and continue to pray. Pastor Rebecca Ragland will be there. UPDATED 11-24 The church is open for prayer and will officially begin a prayer service a half-hour before the announcement and continue for no longer than 1 hour after that. We will then move to a more informal vigil through the night. Your access to news while here will be social media and radio. At 6:30 am tomorrow morning there will be a clergy gathering in Clayton (regardless of the GJ decision) to continue to raise awareness of around racial inequality in the Justice System. If you wish to participate, you are most welcome. Please come to the church this evening to learn more.
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Town and Country welcomes all for Evening Prayer Monday night 11-24 at 6:30, with time for further prayer and meditation to follow.
St. Barnabas' Episcopal Church in Florissant will be open for prayer all day after the Grand Jury announcement said their rector, the Rev. Renee Fenner
St. Francis Episcopal Church in Eureka will be open for prayer following the Grand Jury announcement. Depending on the day of the week, we may be meeting at 616 Stockell Dr. (the Lodge) or 210 S. Central Ave, the parish house. We will send an e-mail announcement to all parishioners.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, St. Louis will gather at 7:00 pm on the day of the Grand Jury announcement for a time of prayer. We will begin with the Great Litany. This will be followed by a time of quiet. At 8:00 pm we will pray the Office of Compline. If the announcement is released at 7:00 pm or later, we will gather in prayer the following evening. UPDATED 11-24 As the announcement of the Grand Jury’s decision will be at 8:00 pm tonight, we will gather at St. Mark’s tomorrow evening (Tuesday, Novembr 25th) for a time of prayer. We will begin with the Great Litany. This will be followed by a time of quiet. At 8:00 pm we will pray the Office of Compline.
Trinity Episcopal Church in the Central West End (St. Louis): on the day of the Grand Jury announcement, Trinity will jointly participate in a worship service, with communion, at 6 PM. This will take place at 2nd Presbyterian Church, corner of Westminster and Taylor, 2 blocks from Trinity, with parking available at Trinity. Trinity is currently working out possible vigil plans.
Trinity Episcopal Church in St. Charles will open its doors for the Grand Jury announcement and plans a 24 hour prayer vigil regardless of the decision, with opportunity for corporate and individual prayer, said the Rev. Tamsen Whistler, rector.
North County Churches Announce Support for Area School Districts After Grand Jury Announcement. A coalition of churches, including St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Ferguson, has partnered with the Ferguson-Florissant and Riverview Gardens School Districts, pledging to provide support to children and families if needed after the upcoming Grand Jury announcement. The churches have agreed to provide food, educational and/or counseling support to children and families. For more information contact Jana Shortt, Director of Communications & Marketing, Ferguson-Florissant School District, office: (314) 506-9040.
Other churches opening as sanctuary or safe space at:
- Metropolitan Congregations United maintains a list.
- The St. Louis Ministerial Coalition maintains a list.
More about the Episcopal church in Missouri's response at diocesemo.org/ferguson
To add your parish information email Beth Felice.