For the second time in two weeks, more than 200 Baton Rouge residents joined nearly 40 Methodist pastors to pray for the city--and this time, to mourn the death of three law enforcement officers who were gunned down Sunday.
District Superintendent Rev. Ken Irby had a previously scheduled meeting Tuesday to follow up on the Alton Sterling shooting that gripped the city during the first week of July. On Sunday, the violence intensified and Tuesdays meeting ushered in another set of conversations, followed by yet another prayer vigil.
Several law enforcement officers from Baton Rouge Police, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and the State Police joined the vigil, accepting prayers and honoring their fellow officers.
The service was similar in nature to the vigil held after the Alton Sterling and that was intentional.
"We wanted the vigil to be in the same place and at the same time to say all deaths break our hearts and wound the soul of our community." Irby said.
Both vigils shared a reading from 1 John, chapter 4.
"Let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another."
Irby said repeating that verse is important for many reasons. "It is incredibly easy in the midst of sorrow, pain and fear to forget our first job is to love. If we are God's people, we have to be about love."
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, who led the crowd through several prayers, called on all those present and those watching online to set aside 12:00 Noon as a time of prayer in the days and weeks ahead.
"In a moment, we will leave this place but as children of God and people of faith, we must pray without ceasing." she said, "Pray every day at Noon until we get a glimpse of peace in our city and in our world. Can you imagine what can happen when this many people pray all at the same time? I can only imagine what a sweet sound that must be to God's ear."
The service was livestreamed on the Conference Facebook which can be found here
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