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Video: B-N Faith Leaders Pray For Peace, Justice in Virtual Vigil

Rev. Brigitte Black speaking during virutal vigil
The Rev. Brigitte Black, pastor of Wayman AME Church in Bloomington.

Faith leaders in Bloomington-Normal offered prayers for peace and justice during a virtual vigil Thursday as a show of racial solidarity.

Peace and Justice vigil banner
Credit YouTube
McLean County Interfaith Alliance and Not In Our Town. sponsored the vigil.

Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe adapted a Jewish prayer to the tragedy that brought them all there -- the killing of a black man, George Floyd, who stopped breathing after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes.

“Bent knees are to show reverence, to participate in peaceful protest, to prepare us for moving, to prepare us for marching,” Dubowe said. “Bent knees are not for killing.  God did not make knees or any part of us for that.”

The Rev. Brigitte Black, pastor of Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bloomington, quoted from the Bible to call for justice for another life taken too soon.

“In my lament for justice, how long Lord, how long must I call for help, but you do not listen or cry out (about) violence but you do not say? Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing?” Black asked.

Madeleine Callahan, a parishioner at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Bloomington and a Benedictine oblate, recited a prayer that also made a veiled reference to Floyd’s death.

“We are your people who cannot breathe the breath of freedom and life these days. We need your presence to confront the horror that has infected our human spirit. We are sick with racist actions, with cruelty to one another, with ideologies of superiority and other kinds of self-centered motivations.”

Meredith Olsen, the ministerial intern at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington-Normal, called for people to unify in opening their eyes, ears and hearts to see oppression and pain.

“We will discover the strength not to hide in indifference, affirming that hope, publicly expressed, energizes and enables us to move forward,” Olsen said. “Together we pledge action to transcend barriers, be they racial, political, economic, social or religious.”

The Rev. B. Elliot Renfroe, chaplain at Westminster Village in Bloomington, prayed for hope.

“Lord, in this critical moment of unrest, I confess the challenges of my heart and pray that I am not consumed by the constancy of systemic racism and the injustices of its oppression,” he said. "Bring to an end the marginalization of people of color and raise up the hope onto which we hold fast despite the
historic past, may be seen a better future.

More than a dozen local faith leaders took part in the vigil sponsored by the McLean County Interfaith Alliance and Not In Our Town.

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Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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