Feeling Gross This Election? Churches Offering Healing Vigils

Feeling Gross This Election? Churches Offering Healing Vigils

The election vigils are a first for many churches.

Some observers of this divisive election are probably thinking that all we have left to do now is pray. Thankfully, several churches and faith organizations have planned prayers and vigils tonight and tomorrow — not necessarily to pray for your favorite candidate to win (though that might be an option at some of them) — but for whatever kind of unity and healing we can achieve at this point.

This evening at 7 p.m., Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral is hosting a nonpartisan, interfaith vigil where Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders will lead prayers “for those in elective office, for those with whom we disagree, and for healing in our nation,” according to Saint Marks’s website.

Over the years, Saint Mark’s has held vigils after 9/11, the Newtown and Orlando shootings and other tragedies, but according to Liz Bartenstein, spokesperson for Saint Mark’s, this year’s election prayer vigil is a first. It came out of a realization among the clergy that people were especially anxious and concerned about the election, Bartenstein says, and that perhaps such an event would be of interest to people outside the Saint Mark’s community.

When asked if the interfaith nature of the event had anything to do with this election and its religiously divisive rhetoric, Bartenstein says it was more about “making sure that this was something that felt open to the whole community….It didn’t seem at the time that there was anything like this happening anywhere else, at least not on this scale.”

Further south, the Columbia City Church of Hope is holding an Election Day prayer from noon to 1 p.m. “We live in a world that naturally divides you from me and us from other,” says the event page. “On November 8th, we have the opportunity to impact change through our votes and our prayers.”

If you’re up in the Edmonds, Lynnwood or Mountlake Terrace area on election night and looking for something to soothe the night’s anxiety, St. Hilda St. Patrick Episcopal Church is holding a prayer vigil “to offer thanksgiving for the abundance of our common life, pray for the safety and security of our country, and offer prayers for reconciliation and healing.”

Cynthia Espeseth, Vicar at St. Hilda St. Patrick, says that like Saint Mark’s, this is the first time the church has held an election vigil. It came about after one of the parishioners was concerned about this election’s lack of civil discourse and hate.

“These are prayers for our nation,” she said, noting that most of them will simply be taken from the church’s Book of Common Prayer. “There’s nothing partisan about it — it’s prayers for hope and civil discourse and respect for the dignity of every human being.”

The event will be nonpartisan and though it will use Christian language, it’s open to anyone of any faith, or anyone who just wants a place to be quiet and listen to poems by Maya Angelou and Wendell Berry, Espeseth says.

Espeseth says she understands the anxiety that the election has caused. She remembers listening to the third presidential debate while she was driving, and finding herself getting so angry and anxious listening to the two candidates yell at other that she started yelling at other drivers.

“For us Christians the best thing to do when that happens is to pray. Just stop, just center yourself in prayer, focus on something not you and move on.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@seattleweekly.com.

More in News & Comment

This screenshot from Auburn Police Department bodycam footage shows an officer about to fire his weapon and kill dog on May 13, 2022.
Auburn police shoot dog, and owner claims it wasn’t justified

See videos of attack as well as bodycam footage of officer firing at dog.

File photo.
King County Council approves creation of Cannabis Safety Taskforce amid rash of dispensary robberies

The multi-agency task force will cooperate to find ways to improve safety in the cash-only industry.

Screenshot from ORCA website
New ORCA system launches for regional transit across the Puget Sound

Overhaul includes new website, mobile application and digital business account manager.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Diane Renee Erdmann and Bernard Ross Hansen. Photos courtesy of FBI
FBI arrests Auburn couple after 11-day manhunt

The couple was previously convicted for fraud and skipped sentencing on April 29.

Screenshot from Barnes and Noble website
Cover art of books that KSD Librarian Gavin Downing says have been under fire: “Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts),” by Lev A.C. Rosen, “If I Was Your Girl,” by Meredith Russo, and “All Boys Aren’t Blue,” by George Matthew Johnson.
Kent middle school librarian wins intellectual freedom award

Gavin Downing refused to keep ‘silence in the library’ amid attempted book banning and censorship.

t
Kent elementary school teacher accused of using racist language toward student

River Ridge Elementary instructor placed on administrative leave by Kent School District.

FILE PHOTO: King County Sheriff’s Office deputies.
Dozens of King County Sheriff’s Office employees left jobs instead of getting vaccinated

This added on to the existing number of vacancies in the department.

Joann and Allan Thomas are flanked in court by their attorneys Terrence Kellogg (fourth from the right) and John Henry Browne (far right) on May 10, 2022. Judge Richard Jones is presiding over the case. Sketch by Seattle-based artist Lois Silver
At drainage district corruption trial, it’s a tale of dueling conspiracies

Allan and Joann Thomas are in trial in Seattle on fraud charges.

Most Read