As Trump protesters, supporters rally in downtown Utica, church holds space for prayer

Grace Episcopal Church of Utica held a space for prayer and hope in the midst of a recent rancorous political rally. President Donald Trump was in the church’s neighborhood headlining a fundraiser for area Congressional Representative Claudia Tenney. A short distance away, Tenney’s opponent held his own rally. Trump protesters–and supporters–rallied on the sidewalk in front of the church.

Against a backdrop of anger, discouragement, and division outside, Grace parishioners and friends on the other side of the church’s open doors prayed for open hearts and minds, and held a discussion on civil discourse using a curriculum from the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations. More than a few protesters found their way into the sanctuary for a moment of quiet. After the discussion, Grace Church’s interim rector, the Rev. Georgina Hegney, went into the crowd wearing her vestments, stopping for conversation with protesters and counter-protesters alike.

“I do believe we were a Spirit-filled presence in the midst of it all,” said Hegney. “Thanks be to God.” covered the prayer service.

How is your congregation making room for hope in this time of division? 

feature image: The Rev. Georgina Hegney, interim rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Utica, stands in the church’s open doorway as political protesters rally outside. Provided photo. 

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