Friday, October 28, 2005

Vigils: 4 PWAL members report

Friends, brothers, sisters, and colleagues:

MoveOn reports that there were more than 100,000 people gathered at 1,354 candlelight vigils in all 50 states and DC. American Friends Service Committee reported an additional 611 vigils organized by their network -- total, that's just shy of 2000 vigils!

Our vigil here in Richmond, Indiana, included 20-25 people in the course of the evening. We were out front of the municipal building and the post office, and we lined the street with luminaries. We read the names of Indiana service-people killed in Iraq since the war began, ringing a bell after each name and pausing in prayerful silence. We had folks in from both Michigan and Ohio who found it through the website -- which was a really fun surprise. It was very good to grieve together, to express our feelings of helplessness and resolve in the face of the killing, and to share the sources of hope we each depend on. We ended with a song by Ravyn Stanfield:

"We are the rising sun,
We are the change,
We are the ones we've been waiting for,
and we are dawning!"

On Earth Peace staffer SUSANNA FARAHAT attended a vigil in Westminster, Maryland. She writes, "I think that one notable thing about the vigil in Westminster was that the people there appeared to be from a variety of paths. This was true of the anti-war demonstration in September, as well. It isn't just your "activist types" that were there. Some moms, some businessy looking types, some with that wizened-demonstrator look, the college kids seemed pretty mainstream, the people to my right weren't speaking English. Maybe the image of activist is changing? I'd guess there were 20-25 gathered--pretty small. A handful of kids, a small handful of college students."

KATE SPIRE, pastor of the Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren in Durham, North Carolina, shares about their vigil in her report to MoveOn:

Light the Hearts of the World with Peace, the Vigil for 2000 Killed in Iraq
Peace Covenant Church of the Brethren, October 26, 2005
Luminaries set in the shape of a dove on the front lawn of the church. Vigil member Kim Winz stayed down at the road as we read over 300 names of fallen soldiers and shared in the ecumenical prayers available through your links(Hindu, Celtic, Christian, Jewish, Muslim). 20 or so attended, more than half were from the community not connected to our church – 7 children were also there. Baptist, Catholic, Mennonite, Brethren and undeclared were present.

PHIL O'MARA, a professor at Bridgewater College, wrote of the vigil in Lexington, VA:
31 people in attendance, including a couple from California, tourists, who noticed us assembling and joined the crowd. One of the organizers spoke briefly, mourning the dead, praising the dedication of those who sincerely serve the nation, and expressing a hope that the war will end soon and that, whether or not war can be brought to an end, the U.S.A. will move toward a peacemaking stance immediately.
We read the names of the dead from Virginia, which took quite a while, unhappily, and had a few moments of silence, after which we sang three verses of "We Shall Overcome." One participant voiced the hope that we would begin to hold monthly vigils. Age range was from early childhood to about eighty. The group was gender balanced, interracial, and included military veterans, pacifists, churchgoers, unbelievers, and people whom I had never met, although I get to as many anti-war gatherings in the area as my duties permit.


Blogger Eureka Dejavu said...

You might be interested in an entry posted on the Ruminations on America Project ( about a book called Thou Shalt Not Kill Unless Otherwise Instructed by Mike Sharpe. This is the permanent link in case you'd like to forward it to other interested parties.

All the best to you,

Rita J. King

11:33 AM  

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