The Ensign Youth Chorus sing with the Ensign Symphony & Choir which performs in Benaroya Hall. The choir will also sing at the prayer for peace event. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

The Ensign Youth Chorus sing with the Ensign Symphony & Choir which performs in Benaroya Hall. The choir will also sing at the prayer for peace event. Photo courtesy of the Mercer Island Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Local churches join together in prayer for peace

The Mercer Island Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints organized the event for May 3.

The women of the Mercer Island Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints plan to host a Prayer for Peace event on May 3, focused on peace negotiations with world leaders.

The church invites Islanders of all faiths to attend the event, which intends to facilitate a mass prayer session. The event will also feature the Ensign Children’s Choir, which will give a brief performance after Kristin Kim, the English Language Learners coordinator for the Mercer Island School District, provides a presentation on the specific concerns.

“We decided that if we really believe in prayer, which we do, then one of the things that would be very worthwhile would be to have an evening where we get everyone on the Island with some sort of faith-based belief to come and said some joint prayers,” said Shannon Sperry, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints on Mercer Island.

Organizers plan to focus prayers on encouraging peaceful negotiations with world leaders, particularly in Syria and North Korea. North Korea agreed to denuclearizing in a historic peace accord with South Korea last week.

The church said it wants to encourage the leadership of both countries and the United States to move towards engagement and peaceful resolution.

Organizers have invited members and religious leaders from all different faith groups to lead in prayer and moments of silence for all to add their silent prayers to the vocal prayers.

Local religious leaders include Rev. Julie Steel of the Evergreen Covenant Church and the Rev. Sabeth Fitzgibbons of the Emmanuel Episcopal Church.

“We’ve invited all the other faith-based organizations on the Island and we’re trying to even reach out to others,” Sperry said. “We want to spend a half hour with our thoughts and prayers focused on peaceful solutions to our problems.”

Sperry said she hopes to see a turnout of 150 people and the church will provide cookies and treats for attendees. The event starts at 7 p.m. and will only last a half hour.

“We picked this night because apparently there’s a national day of prayer,” Sperry said. “I’ve never seen any activity on the Island regarding that, but it’s non-denominational.”

This event is inspired by the National Day of Prayer observant day and all are welcome.

Created in 1952 by a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress and signed into law by president Harry Truman, the National Day of Prayer is held on the first Thursday of May each year. The first call to prayer was in 1775, when the Continental Congress asked the colonies to pray for wisdom in forming a nation.

In an official statement, the Mercer Island Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints said it desires that the people of North Korea and Syria know that they do not hate them, but rather they care for them and want them to live in a world of safety and peace.

“I believe in the power of a prayer and I believe that the more people who pray for a specific thing will make a difference. I truly believe it does make a difference,” Sperry said.

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