Once we heard about the abduction of girls from a school in Nigeria, we felt a need to gather people from the wider community, anyone concerned, to pray, to stand together in compassion for the girls and their families. We made inquiries. Was any other group in the Downtown community looking to organize something similar to us. We are quite comfortable doing this on our own initiative, but partnering with others ensures we do not duplicate effort and confuse the community. One of our members discovered that the African Community Organization wanted to have a gathering, but could not find a venue. Well, we have a huge 162 year old venue!

We called their leader, Kenny Gbadebo, and he was ready to work together. Monday May 12th was only days away, but this was the date Kenny and his group had chosen to gather and prayer needed to begin. We had a plan!

Thanks to all who communicated the vigil. The weather was horrendous, but such a storm seems like an appropriate parallel to the storm in the girls’ lives right now. One woman from Nigeria told one of the reporters that she felt better after the vigil of prayer. Thank God for people who pray, who express what is in their hearts in a positive way together. We become one voice when we do so. One.

Lord, hear our prayer:

O God, we cry out to you
for the lives and the freedom
of the 276 kidnapped girls in Nigeria.
In their time of danger and fear,
pour out your strong Spirit for them.
Make a way home for them in safety.
Make a way back for them
to the education that will lift them up.
Hold them in the knowledge
that they are not captive slaves,
they are not purchased brides,
but they are your beloved daughters,
and precious in your sight.
Change the hearts and minds of their kidnappers
and of all who choose violence against women and girls.
Cast down the mighty from their seat
and lift up the humble and meek,
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Written by Elizabeth Smith
Diocese of Perth, The Anglican Church of Australia