EDITOR’s NOTE: Over the past week, the home office of our online magazine has received notes about dozens of Ukraine-themed programs at congregations across the U.S. Some congregations have welcomed Ukrainian-American choirs to sing during a worship service, or at a special community-wide event. Other communities have organized larger interfaith efforts. We asked Rodger Murchison, a pastor and the author of our book Guide for Grief, to write about a service that he helped to organize in Augusta, Georgia. Here is his story …
The Augusta, Georgia, Community Prays for Ukraine
By RODGER MURCHISON
Author of Guide for Grief
The situation in Ukraine is horrific and tragic. What can we do to help? People of faith can pray. The city of Augusta, Georgia, organized a Community Prayer Service. We invited Christians of all denominations as well as our Jewish and Muslim neighbors to participate.
To promote this Service of Prayer for Ukraine, we reached out to our local CBS, ABC and NBC television affiliates. They all agreed to co-sponsor this service and they also aired brief interviews with several area organizers. Our local talk-radio station welcomed two clergy to participate in a live interview about the service.
The Service of Prayer for Ukraine was held on Sunday March 13, 2022. The sanctuary of First Baptist Church was the venue and between 350 and 400 were in attendance.
How did we organize this service?
We began with a “Congregational Hymn of Peace” set to the music of Jean Sibelius’ Finlandia.
Then, interspersed in the program we featured a duet, titled Shalom—as well as an anthem from Antioch Missionary Baptist church.
Here’s how we presented our prayers:
- A Prayer for the People of Ukraine by the Rev. Will Dyer
- A Prayer for Political Leaders by U.S. Rep. Rick W. Allen
- A Prayer for the Faith Community of Ukraine by Rabbi David Sirull
- A Prayer for Peace by Father Mark Ross
- A Prayer for the Students of Ukraine by Dawson Booth, a student at Augusta University
- A Prayer for the Children of Ukraine by Imam Jawad Rasul
- A Prayer for the People of Russia by the Rev. Sonia Sullivan-Clifton
- A Litany for Ukraine led by the Rev. Rodger Murchison
- A Prayer for the Military by Col. Jeff Voyles, Senior Chaplain at Ft. Gordon
- A Prayer for Forgiveness by the Rev. Kenneth Martin
- We also set aside time for Congregational Silent Prayer
In addition to praying, we also can send help to the millions of refugees. At our Prayer Service an offering of more than $5,000 was raised for relief work in the region.
I also have received requests for a copy of the simple litany we used in the service. Here it is in a PDF format.