Churches respond to tragedy with evening prayer vigil services

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2001

People across the Kenai Peninsula joined the rest of the nation in mourning the dead and injured in Tuesday's terrorist attacks. Churches in the central peninsula were open for special vigils Tuesday night, and several more will be open today.

"We're inviting everybody to the New Life Assembly building," said Rev. Rick Cupp, pastor of Kenai Fellowship Church of Christ. The mass prayer service was set to be held at 7 p.m Tuesday. "We're trying to get the entire community together at one time to pray."

Cupp revised his Tuesday schedule in anticipation of greater need.

"I'll be here all day," Cupp said Tuesday. "I'm not going to take a lunch. I know that a lot of pastors are going to stay in their buildings for the entire day for prayer.

"I wish I had a big neon sign that says 'come on in and pray,'" Cupp said. "We're not going to be doing anything for the next couple of days except praying. Our doors are open, and I know other churches are too."

Dale Kelley, pastor of Soldotna United Methodist Church at 158 S. Binkley, said her church planned a prayer vigil Tuesday night and has one planned for tonight starting at 7 until "the last person leaves."

"People can stay as long as they feel they would like to," Kelley said.

Kelley said the call for the vigil came from the National Council of United Methodist Bishops.

"It's a time for healing, for comfort, for peace and support and strength for families involved," Kelley said.

"It's a time for the community to come together. It's open to everybody of any faith or persuasion."

Kelley said there will be music playing throughout the time the church is open, readings, prayer and candle lighting.

"We will light candles against the darkness of this hour."

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