Highlands UMC hosts vigil with community, interfaith leaders

July 11, 2016
Story and photos submitted by the Rev. Bradley Laurvick
Pastor, Highlands United Methodist Church, Denver, Colorado

At the invitation and encouragement of Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock, Highlands United Methodist Church hosted a community vigil for hope and peace Sunday, July 10. More than 100 people gathered in northwest Denver on the church's steps, filling the sidewalk and spilling into the street. Ninety percent of those in attendance were from outside the Highlands UMC congregation. The event was held on the steps and street as a way to be visible on the community.

Ten faith leaders were present from an interfaith spectrum: rabbis, nuns, pastors. The Revs. Bradley Laurvick and Jeff Hirota, of Highlands UMC, were joined by five other UMC clergy, including Rev. Eun Sang Lee, of Wheat Ridge UMC, who offered a prayer on behalf of the Protestant tradition. Rabbi Brian Immerman (Temple Emmanuel) and Sister Georgeann Quinlan (St Dominic's Catholic) also offered prayers out of their traditions.

State Representative Dan Pabon (Colorado House District 4) and Commander Pazen (Denver Police Department District 1), offered us encouragement and invitation to the tough work of authentic relationship. Through their beautiful music, women's choir Safonia invited the crowd to live gracefully and summon peace.

Rev. Laurvick invited those gathered to "make a promise – something you can write down and then live out – a promise to your community of the good you can do." The 100 written promises will be published on the church's website and social media by Tuesday, July 12.

Laurvick thanked those gathered for "demonstrating to those who seek to divide, whether by violence or rhetoric, that we are a community that values connection and relationship. [And for being] witnesses to hope and peace."