#Pray Vigil memorializes victims of worldwide tragedies

The Intervarsity Christian Fellowship held the #Pray Vigil on Saturday Sept. 24 outside of the MacVittie College Union. Anyone and everyone was welcomed to attend if they wished to spend their crisp, refreshing autumn evening either praying or simply thinking about the tragic events that have occurred over the last year, regardless of religious affiliation.

“We hope that the campus has a space to remember and pray for those who are hurting,” biology major senior Amber Lin said. “[The purpose is] to look outside of our bubble and be mindful of what is happening in the world.”

Seeing the continuous flow of tragic events occurring throughout the world—such as the Syrian refugee crisis, the bombings in Nice, France and the shootings in Orlando, Fla.—inspired Lin to organize the event.

The vigil consisted of soft music and prayer companions, and there were six tables on the terrace for participants. Five of the tables signified a different event to pray for, including #prayforjustice, Syria’s civil war, #OneKnight, terrorism and the Pulse shooting in Orlando. Each table provided a summary of the event and prayer cards to fill out and place in a prayer jar at the sixth table in the center of the terrace.

“So much is happening, and I just feel like my heart is being broken,” Lin said. “I thought, ‘What could I do to show people that I care about them if they are impacted by these events?’”

The convenient location of the vigil allowed attendees to stop by the event and to reflect before continuing onto the rest of their night. Moreover, there were rules to restrict how attendees could participate in the event. Some attendees simply stopped at a station to fill out a prayer card, while others sat together in prayer and contemplation.

Each table had small electric candles with Psalm 34:18 Bible verse written on them, reading: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Students could take the candles to remember to be mindful of the events that have happened or are still happening.

As the administrative coordinator of the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, accounting major senior Stephanie Jacob strongly supported #Pray vigil.

“I think that this is such a beautiful thing that Amber is putting on because it is not ‘pray for one thing,’ it is ‘pray for everything,’” Jacob said. “I’m really happy that we can all come together as a community to pray about all these different events.”

In all, the Vigil was a very serene affair. The event created an inclusive environment that allowed students to pray or to contemplate in their own personal way. It provided a wonderful respite from the negative events that have transpired over the last year with hopes that there will be no need for another one in the future.

Until then, all that we can do is be mindful of the world around us.