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Pray for healing, urge church leaders

A national day of prayer will include an Island-wide moment of silence in the name of Bermuda’s victims of violent crime.

Clergy will also gather tomorrow in the Anglican Cathedral to acknowledge their own shortcomings, Bishop Elect Nicholas Dill yesterday announced.

Flanked by City of Hamilton and Chamber of Commerce representatives, a religious committee elaborated on a coming ‘Week of Open Doors’ at the Island’s churches, for residents to gather and reflect.

Specific opening times of churches will be posted on the Bermuda Prays Facebook page.

The Week of Open Doors, which starts on Monday, is to include schools as well.

Steering committee chairman Pastor Joseph Whalen said he understood why some had questioned the spiritual initiative.

He told

The Royal Gazette: “Some of the points made by the bloggers are well taken in their criticism with regards to prayer and the church — that’s why we need as a church to repent.”

Pastor Whalen added: “What pleases God is not vain, empty prayers where you go through the motions, the posturing. That has been, a lot of the time, what the public sees. They don’t see a lot of positive things that our churches are doing.

“This initiative is about doing more than simply praying.”

Pastor Whalen added that the event will not cost the taxpayer.

“This first year, we are keeping it simple. That’s why we’re having this initiative here on the steps of City Hall. The Corporation of Hamilton have been gracious to work with us at no cost for them, as, say, having it at the National Stadium. At this particular time when the nation is suffering, we thought it not appropriate.”

The initiative can be traced to a February 7 meeting of clergy with Premier Craig Cannonier and Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley.

A subsequent April 12 gathering of pastors drew more than 70 church heads together.

Affirming the city’s support, Hamilton Deputy Mayor Donal Smith called it the beginning of “a process of moving our Island home to a place of peace, health and cooperation”.

Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Pastor Gary Simons said Thursday’s City Hall gathering would run from 2pm to 3pm, and urged residents to schedule their lunch breaks so they could attend.

“No one would deny the fact that our country is in a state whereby we need help,” he added.

Faith-based organisations “have to do more than reach those within the four walls of our churches”.

Rev Dill, Bishop Elect, said churches were already on the front line in providing youth resources, feeding programmes and outreach to the elderly — along with “burying the dead, of all those who have been shot”.

However, Rev Dill continued, tomorrow’s ‘Solemn Assembly’ was intended for churches to recognise that “we are not doing things as well as we could together”.

He said from 5pm to 6pm the event would cater to young people, and from 7pm to 8pm it would be more geared toward adults.

“It’s the first step of bringing us together so we are better able to reach out,” he said.

A Youth Impact Task Force has been organised to give preteens and teenagers their own sanctuary.

The national gathering from 2pm to 3pm May 16 will close with an Island-wide moment of silence, Mr Dill added.

Education Minister Nalton Brangman commended the initiative on Government’s behalf.

“We must stop the action of turning on each other, and start the action of turning to each other, that we can bring a better day,” Senator Brangman said.

Volunteers can e-mail bermudaprays@gmail.com.

Joint message: Bishop Elect Nicholas Dill speaks during a press conference surrounded by Minister of Education Nalton Brangman, local clergy, and members of the Corporation of Hamilton. (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published May 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated May 03, 2013 at 9:18 pm)

Pray for healing, urge church leaders

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