Zion Lutheran Church Pastor Mike Williams saw Thursday’s prayer vigil as a statement of unity — for a community that has been spared of the physical toll of the coronavirus pandemic, but has not escaped the economic consequences.
While the plaza at Kerrville City Hall, a decidedly secular place to hold a vigil, may seem a bit strange, the moment was not lost on Williams and fellow pastors Father Rafael Duda of Notre Dame Catholic Church and John Wheat of Trinity Baptist Church.
“Having this every Thursday is a good way to remind everyone that we understand this is a community of faith and to bring the community of faith in with the government to say we’re all in this together,” said Williams, who was praying in front of his largest real-life audiences in weeks — all of about 10 people.
Thursday marked the first of what is to be planned of several prayer vigils to be held at noon each Thursday over the next few weeks. The brainchild of Mayor Bill Blackburn, himself a retired Baptist minister, and Kerrville City Manager Mark McDaniel the event was designed to provide some comfort to those who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic — one that has plowed its way into our daily lives since the first of March.
“We know this community is hurting,” McDaniel said. “What can we do to lift spirits? And how can we acknowledge how much they are hurting.”
The idea was simple: spend 15 minutes praying for the good of the community. Blackburn started and then it rotated over to Williams to Wheat and to Duda.
“While we’re getting these small business loans are coming to our community and a lot of different things are happening people are really suffering,” McDaniel explained. “I thought this was a good fit.”
Preceded by a playing of a hymnal on the City Hall’s bell tower, Blackburn said a brief prayer before giving way to the pastors, who all gave 2-3 minute prayers.
“Help us to love and heal, father,” said Duda, the parochial vicar at Notre Dame Catholic Church.
“We pray, and ask you, to keep the effects of this coronavirus to a minimum,” Wheat said.