Anglican churches in Stratford to host prayer vigil for peace in Ukraine

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Stratford’s three Anglican churches – St. Paul’s, St. James and St. Stephen’s – will hold a prayer vigil for peace in Ukraine at St. Paul’s on Douro Street beginning at 7 p.m. on June 1.

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To give residents of the Stratford area a way to show their support for Ukrainians and an outlet for their fear and anxiety over the Russian military invasion of the country, the three Anglican churches in Stratford will hold a prayer vigil for the peace in Ukraine at St. Paul’s Anglican Church next week.

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On June 1, the spiritual leaders of St. Stephen’s, St. James and St. Paul’s Anglican churches invite area residents of all faiths to join them for an evening of prayer, hymns and fraternity from 7 p.m.

“This was originally done at Christ Church Meaford by a colleague of mine. … Nothing was being done in Stratford, (so) I thought it was an opportunity to bring our three Anglican churches together – we don’t do enough – for the community,” said St. James Rev. Stephanie Donaldson.

St. Paul Reverend Lorraine Brooks said the planned vigil was not a regular church service.

“It’s not morning prayer; it is not a Eucharistic service; this is not evening prayer,” Brooks said. “They are basically hymns, scripture readings and prayers for peace in Ukraine.”

Inundated with images and videos of death and destruction in Ukraine almost daily, the reverends said many in the community do not know what to do with their feelings of anxiety, fear and helplessness over this crisis. .

“I have to believe that’s on everyone’s mind. It is an additional stressor for an already over-stressed society. I’m American and I’m watching what just happened in my country,” Donaldson said, referring to Tuesday’s horrific mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. “I hope this will help people come together. When there’s so much stress, you have to come together. You need an outlet in the community.

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Brooks said the service will also provide a way for residents who may feel powerless over this conflict to shape their compassion.

“There are people who can afford to help with housing when refugees come to Canada,” Brooks said. “Some have the resources and contacts to fundraise to gather medical (and other) supplies to ship to Ukraine, but there are so many in our community who care and feel deeply about it, but think they do don’t have the ability to do anything to help, so it’s something anyone can do.

By holding the prayer vigil, the two ministers hope it will also show newly arrived Ukrainian refugees in the region that their country of origin continues to be in the thoughts of their new Canadian friends and neighbours.

In addition to praying for peace and coming together as a community, the churches will also collect voluntary donations from attendees for the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund’s Ukraine Fund, the country’s on-the-ground relief effort. Anglican Church of Canada in Eastern Europe.

Attendees of the June 1 prayer vigil will be required to wear face masks.

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