Churchgoers from several congregations gathered Sunday at New Creation Church in north Minneapolis to pray for an end to violence in their community and across the country.
The “Come Together” prayer vigil, the second in what organizers hope will be a monthly gathering, is an effort to model peace by bringing together residents from different racial and religious backgrounds to pray, share stories, and sing, according to the Rev. Paul Slack of New Creation Church.
“Across race, across faith, we actually want to connect,” Slack said.
The first event was held Sept. 11 at St. Bridget Catholic Church and drew 300 people. St. Bridget is a largely white parish, while New Creation is mostly black.
The events are the brainchild of Slack and the Rev. Paul Jarvis of St. Bridget, who were inspired to take action after a violent summer that included the killing of Philando Castile by a St. Anthony police officer. Days before the first prayer service, a bullet pierced the window at Sojourner Truth Academy, across the street from St. Bridget, underscoring the need for action, Slack said.
The 60 people who participated Sunday were encouraged to share how violence had affected them personally.
Jamie Steele, a St. Bridget parishioner, spoke about how a drive-by shooting 16 years ago in her north Minneapolis front yard prompted her family’s move to Minnetonka. Sometimes she’s scared to come back, though she wouldn’t be who she is without north Minneapolis, she said.
“Every entrance into north Minneapolis requires a bridge,” Steele said. “Why can’t we be that bridge?”
Slack and Jarvis, who was absent Sunday because his mother was ill, want to include people of other religions, and nonbelievers. Members of Zion Baptist Church attended Sunday.
The next “Come Together” is planned for Nov. 13 at Zion.