Fort Worth

Local churches praying for peace in a divisive time

Pastor Fritz Ritsch conducts a Service for Hope and Healing For Our Nation at St Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth.
Pastor Fritz Ritsch conducts a Service for Hope and Healing For Our Nation at St Stephen Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth. rrodriguez@star-telegram.com

Cable news would be revving up. The talking heads would be dissecting early voting results, and campaign surrogates would be preparing to spin the news.

The very thought exhausted Anne Bourland, who instead came to St. Stephen Presbyterian Church on Tuesday night to pray and be with fellow parishioners.

“I came here out of concern for our nation,” Bourland said. “This has been a very difficult election. We have been bombarded with so much negativity.”

St. Stephen, which began its prayer service after the polls closed at 7 p.m., was among several places of worship this week that invited both members and strangers to pray, meditate, receive communion and seek guidance near the end of a particularly divisive election.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Fort Worth offered a noonday prayer for the nation and its leaders. University Christian Church remained open Tuesday for open prayer, meditation and communion.

On Monday, St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church hosted a special 12-hour adoration. And Monday night, Lake Country Church in Fort Worth held a special pre-election prayer service.

“We felt this is an important time to pray for the nation,” said Tom Plumbley, senior minister at First Christian Church. “We have been looking at our candidates to see who is taking the high road and who is taking the low road. We wanted to remind ourselves that we, too, have a responsibility to take the high road. We should behave in a way that reflects the goodness and glory of God.”

At St. Stephen, about 20 members sang God of Our Life and prayed for reconciliation. The Rev. Fritz Ritsch reminded those in attendance that Christians, Muslims and Jewish people worship one God.

“We are sisters and brothers,” Ritsch said. “May enemies being to speak and listen to one another. … May we empower all people in our nation to live by the law of love.”

Bourland, who married her husband at St. Stephen 52 years ago, said this church provides a place of rest of solace, even in the most tumultuous times.

“This is a very special place,” she said. “I am reminded here that God is in control.”

Sarah Bahari: 817-390-7056, @sarahbfw

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