This week Rev. Shannon White of the Wilton Presbyterian Church and Rev. Caroline Smith of the Wilton Baptist Church are attending the Festival of Homiletics, a preaching conference being held this week in Washington, DC. While they are in the nation’s capital, the two members of the Wilton clergy also participated in last night’s “Reclaiming Jesus” prayer service and candlelight vigil held in front of the White House.
During the event, White (in photo above, front row, black and white dress) and Smith (top row, holding White’s hand) had the opportunity to meet the Right Rev. Michael Curry, the bishop who delivered the memorable and stirring sermon at last weekend’s Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle. Curry was one of many faith leaders who led the worshipers through declarations of what they believe and what they reject. After the worship service, the participants then walked in silence and by candlelight to the White House, where they prayed, sang The Lord’s Prayer and reread the declarations.
“For me, it was important and extremely moving to take time out of the conference to come together with several thousand people who share my faith. We prayed, we sang and we affirmed that all people are made in the image of God. We heard scripture and reaffirmed that systems which pit people against people, people against the environment, and systems which do not care for ‘the least of these’ among us need to be confronted,” White says.
“This was not for or against Republican or Democrat. It was not a protest. It was an affirmation of faith. It was a statement that many of us have been silent for too long, and need to speak up and affirm the presence of God in each and every person, and to support policies which relay that idea,” White adds.
Smith also felt it was important to participate, as she explained in an email to GOOD Morning Wilton.
“Tonight we gathered as the body of Christ. We gave thanks, we prayed, we praised the Lord. And we went on a prayer walk through the streets of our nations capital to the steps of the White House. Why? Ubuntu. Because you cannot be who God created you to be until I am who God created me to be; and I cannot be who I was created to be until you are who you were created to be. We are all created in the image of God; we are all created to be a part of the divine love relationship that is God. But we are called together. Each and every one. And so, we pray.”
Among the participants in the event were worshipers of many denominations, including Catholics, Baptists, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Lutherans and others; White also said participants came from many countries. The overriding belief, she said, was that while each of them may have different perspectives, they were united in purpose at last night’s vigil.
“There was an acknowledgement that while we don’t agree on everything, we stand together in our common love of God. I saw colleagues from across the country who were able to join in together.”