We live in a beautiful community. We want to keep our hearts and minds open to meet the growing list of challenges our country is facing, and to create a community where everyone belongs. To do that, we know we need to have open, respectful dialogue.
The Love Rising effort began in June of 2020 as the COVID pandemic was raging across the country and many people were experiencing feelings of despair and isolation. Pam Leibring, originator of the Love Rising Community Day of Prayer & Meditation, was looking for something positive to come from those very challenging days. Pam explains her initial motivation this way: "When I listened to the news, it made my heart hurt. Pandemic, unrest, unemployment, racial tension, injustice … there was just so much pain. I felt like I had to do something. What do many of us do when we’re experiencing great sadness? We pray. So I talked to my priest, Reverend Randi Hicks Rowe, who is the rector of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Burt. We discussed a prayer vigil. I brought the idea to other church members, and the idea blossomed from there.”
Love Rising is now in its second year. From the earliest discussions, the hope has been that members of many local churches as well as secular community members will support the idea and contribute their own energy and efforts to bring people together. Love Rising is not just about thoughtful consideration of challenges we’re facing at local and national levels. It's also about learning how to approach potentially difficult conversations with our neighbors from a position of love, asking questions and listening to each other to find common ground. Focusing efforts and actions on a single day – from dawn to dusk – may renew or create connections between the local clergy and community leaders who can help lead conversations and facilitate future efforts for positive change.
“Many of us believe in the power of prayer. But you don’t need to be a religious person to be part of this day,” explains Pam. She emphasizes that this effort is not owned by a single church, or even by faith communities. “If you have love for your neighbors, love for your community, please join us. Set aside an hour, or whatever time you have. Join in person or join from the peace of your own home.”
A Community Day of Prayer & Meditation in Newfane, Olcott, & Wilson NY July 15th, 2021, Sunrise to Sunset