Local religious organizations call for prayer

By Gus Bode

Local religious organizations call for prayer

During a time of war, religious leaders try to find a common ground for protesters

War or no war? The United States is split on the issue. But local religious leaders are trying to find something everyone can agree on.


“I think we can all agree that we want it to come to a speedy end,” John Scarano, director of the Newman Catholic Student Center said. “And if you believe praying changes things, praying is what people need to do right now.”

Many religious organizations are challenging their congregations to pray about the war in Iraq and are even dedicating meeting times to discussing and praying about the events in Iraq.

On Sunday at Vineyard Community Church, Pastor Steve Morgan changed his sermon to address the war and how people should react to it.

His message was to pray for as few deaths as possible and to pray for the leaders of the different countries as well as soldiers and civilians of both the U.S. and Iraq.

“It’s really hard to know what to think about war,” Morgan said. “People can have opinions in all different areas and how do you love people with different views?”

Morgan said that the church also offers smaller discussion groups that people can be a part of for a more intimate and personal discussion on issues.

A local Quaker group has dedicated silent meditation time to praying for a non-violent resolution to the war. The group meets 10 a.m. Sundays at the Interfaith Center and welcomes anyone from the community to come to their meeting.


Lisa Johnson Zee, a clerk for the Southern Illinois Society of Friends, said that two of the members also provide draft counseling to community members in case of a draft.

“They are trained to talk to young people about a draft if they have a conscience objection to the war,” Zee said.

Scarano said the Newman Catholic Student Center is having a perpetual prayer chain that will allow prayers to ensue 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

SIUC students and community members can sign up for a specific day and time that they can pray every week. Scarano said that they will need about 170 people to sign up so that all the time slots will be filled.

He hopes that it will not only bring a quick resolution to the war in Iraq but the people who are divided over the issues can find a common ground.

“Our community is split,” Scarano said. “But when a community does something like this, it brings people together.”

Reporter Kristina Dailing can be reached at [email protected]