Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phillips
Rector, St. Francis Church,
Rio Rancho, NM
As soon as I got the news in the rectory of my parish in Rhode Island, I thought of the 15 thousand students arriving for classes at the university next door- a big portion of them from New York and New Jersey - hearing about the cataclysm on the car radio or seeing the images on the TVs in the lobby as they arrived. It was hard to leave my church and trust members to care for one another as some came to pray or check in, but the greatest need seemed to be with young people, many unable to reach their families. That evening I and some staff from the Multi Cultural Center gathered students for a candlelight march across campus - we thought we might gather a few dozen, but as we began passing out candles and walking, hundred of students and others came to join us. We finished up at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church - over 200 students crammed into our post-and-beam sanctuary for a non-denominational prayer service, some literally climbing into the rafters to find space - and we prayed and lots stood up to offer their hopes and fear, prayers and wishes for those in harm's way and for the peace of the whole world as well.
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