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.”
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.