Ukraine prayer vigil scheduled Monday in Bell Tower Green

Published 5:38 pm Saturday, February 26, 2022

SALISBURY — An initial group of churches participating in a 6 p.m. Monday prayer vigil for Ukraine has grown to include a few outside of downtown.

While anyone is welcome to attend, churches planning to participate include Stallings Memorial Baptist, the Refuge, Soldiers Memorial AME Zion, First Baptist, St. Luke’s Episcopal, St. John’s Lutheran, First Presbyterian, First United Church of Christ and First United Methodist in Salisbury. Attendees are asked to bring a candle to the vigil, which will be at Bell Tower Green Park.

Lara Musser Gritter, co-pastor at First Presbyterian Church, said the event started with a church member saying a city praying in unison is mightier than praying alone after seeing news coverage about Russia invading Ukraine. That statement started a email conversation between downtown pastors about how to help.

The result was a number of downtown churches and the Bell Tower tolling their bells for 10 minutes at 11 a.m. on Friday as well as the prayer vigil.

Having the many downtown churches as well as the Bell Tower toll their bells sent a “really important message in the moment that war is division,” Musser Gritter said. Prayer, she said, is one way to engage in an event across the globe that an individual person might not otherwise be able to affect.

“One person in Salisbury cannot exert a different outcome, but coming together and asking God to intervene is one way to engage and keeps us mindful,” she said.

Carol Hallman, pastor at First United Church of Christ, said in a My Turn published on page 2C, “Scripture tells us to love our neighbors and it seems clear that our neighbor is pretty much everyone.”

“Scripture also tells us to love our enemies and that is just plain hard,” Hallman wrote. “War is never the answer. Dialogue, listening, caring, looking for ways forward together are ways to find answers.”

War only leads to more brokenness and suffering as well as adding to division and hate, she wrote.

“What happens to the people of the Ukraine happens to our neighbor, to our brothers and sisters,” Hallman wrote.