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The Night After, A Moving Prayer Vigil in San Bernardino

newsSt. Paul’s United Methodist Church’s Rev. David McGlocklin opened the vigil in a dimly lit sanctuary with a tolling of the church bell to remember those whose lives were lost.

The space would progressively fill with light as the service continued in song, scripture reading, and preaching. The purpose of the vigil was to mourn and reflect together as a community of faith in the aftermath of Wednesday morning’s shooting violence at the Inland Community Center.

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño brought prayers of compassion, justice, and hope, opening her remarks with a moment of silent embrace of the city’s vigil at San Manuel Stadium and Muslim vigil at Baitul Hameed Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Chino simultaneously gathered with St. Paul’s UMC.

“Yesterday’s sunlit beauty was penetrated by the darkness of violence in this beloved community,” she said as she extended her prayers to the community of San Bernardino. “God’s tender heart hurts with you.”

vigil1 (1)The vigil drew together congregations and ministers from United Methodist Churches throughout the San Bernardino area as well as others from communities throughout Southern California.

Other speakers included Rev. Cheol Kwak, Rev. Nelson Castorillo, Rev. Jose Vindel, and Rev. Cynthia Huskey. Prayers and litany were delivered by others. Scripture passages read during the service included those from Lamentations and the gospel of John. And, hymns sung included “Stand by me” and “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”

vigil2 (1)Eventually, those gathered lit candles and processed out of the sanctuary into the courtyard where prayer stations awaited them, each with a particular prayer activity. One stations held 14 Bibles, in which those present could write in notes of encouragement, to be given to the victims’ families.

St. Paul’s UMC is a local church of the California-Pacific Conference which is a regional body of The United Methodist Church made up of some 80,000 members in almost 360 local churches throughout Southern California, parts of Central California, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands, Guam, and Saipan.

The United Methodist Church has 12.5 million members globally and is in mission in more than 135 countries. It is the second largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with about 33,000 churches.

By Rev. Karen Ristine and James J. Kang