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St. Louis Area Faith Leaders Pray For Peace And Unity After Elections

St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski held a prayer session on Wednesday afternoon with other church leaders calling to end violence, bring racial harmony and to find a cure for the coronavirus.
St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski held a prayer session on Wednesday afternoon with other church leaders calling to end violence, bring racial harmony and to find a cure for the coronavirus.

Christian and Jewish leaders are calling for people to unite in prayer for peace and unity following the close battle for presidency.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis held a virtual prayer session with seven church leaders on Wednesday, asking for guidance on the nation’s pressing issues, including ceasing violence, a cure for the coronavirus and prayers for elected officials to serve their communities.

“With so much upheaval, it is time to come together as we turn to God's eternal, unchanging love, to realize the priorities in our lives and to pray for the unity for which we earn as the human race,” St. Louis Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski said.

Rozanski said from the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis that he hopes prayer will bless the city, state, nation and world.

He was joined by Bishop Elijah Hankerson, president of St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition; the Rev. Jim Poinsett, executive director of Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis; Rabbi Noah Arnow of Kol Rinah St. Louis; the Rev. Darryl Gray, social justice commissioner for the Progressive National Baptist Convention-Midwest Region; Linden Bowie, president of Missouri Missionary Baptist State Convention; and Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten, president of Ecumenical Leadership Council of Missouri–St. Louis Chapter. Each prayed for the nation for about five minutes.

The religious leaders said that prayer can help unify a divided community and that people should seek divine guidance to achieve racial harmony and peace.

People are losing hope after the lasting effects of the virus, witnessing the death of George Floyd and the resulting protests to save Black lives, said Joyce Jones, racial harmony director for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

“We know that God is in control, and we just send our prayers up to him and just put our faith and trust in him,” Jones said.

Those who do not belong to a faith tradition but seek hope can meditate to calm their spirits, Jones said.

The faith leaders also prayed for unity among faith groups and an end to violence.

“We know that violence is something that is pretty much out of control. It hurts my heart to see that St. Louis is listed as the capital of this violence,” Jones said. “So we want to ask God to put an end to the violence, guide our feet and our steps in helping to eradicate that.”

In a keynote speech, the Rev. Traci Blackmon, senior pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ, said the election has divided communities and churches.

“Regardless of the election results our task is the same, we are to keep the faith,” Blackmon said. “God is neither Republican nor Democrat. God is neither red or blue. God precedes political parties and our way forward will never be determined by the outcome of any election.”

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

Andrea Henderson joined St. Louis Public Radio in March 2019, where she covers race, identity and culture as part of the public radio collaborative Sharing America. Andrea comes to St. Louis Public Radio from NPR, where she reported for the race and culture podcast Code Switch and produced pieces for All Things Considered. Andrea’s passion for storytelling began at a weekly newspaper in her hometown of Houston, Texas, where she covered a wide variety of stories including hurricanes, transportation and Barack Obama’s 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Her art appreciation allowed her to cover arts and culture for the Houston African-American business publication, Empower Magazine. She also covered the arts for Syracuse’s Post-Standard and The Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina.