Faith leaders pray for Ukraine at vigil held in Union Point Park

Faith leaders pray for Ukraine at vigil held in Union Point Park
Published: Mar. 18, 2022 at 10:28 PM EDT
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - About 100 voices were lifted in prayer in New Bern when a crowd gathered calling for peace in Ukraine.

Faith leaders at Christ Episcopal Church led members of their congregation, as well as folks just enjoying the day and stumbling on the vigil, in prayer at Union Point Park Friday afternoon.

Handing out scripture and bouquets of sunflowers, the group showed that New Bern, and all of Eastern North Carolina, support Ukrainians in their fight against destruction and violence from Russian military forces.

“I am incredibly angry about what’s happening,” said New Bern resident Eugene Simon, Jr. “I think it’s so unfair, but this is really all we can do as individuals right now.”

With long stem sunflowers in their hands, park-goers reflected on what they are grateful for.

“The people in New Bern, I believe, realize how truly blessed we are. We are all here by choice. We are all very lucky,” said Christie Wineholt. “We do not have to worry about war or fear or any of those things. The flower is just a great symbol, as they said in the service. The flowers turn their light to the Sun.”

Though they spoke in unison at the park, each person has a special prayer in their heart that they carry with them.

“Just seeing the devastation and seeing how it’s going to have to be rebuilt, that is what I have said to God on multiple occasions. ‘You will make a way.’ We’ll see how it happens but we know that it will,” said Rev. Paul Canady, Christ Episcopal Church rector.

As they chanted the scripture, they hoped to send a blanket of protection to Europe.

“Well, it’s everyone. It’s the refugees, it’s the children and it’s the brave people that are fighting a mighty army,” said Simon.

The church is accepting money to donate to humanitarian efforts in the war-stricken country.

“It will be a blessing to be able to help the small children, the hospitals, what we see on television, how sad it is,” said Wineholt, “but the heroic efforts of those people. Our people are willing to step up; there’s nothing we won’t do.”

Along with giving to the church system, United Way chapters across the East are accepting donations for their United for Ukraine Fund.

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