ARLINGTON — The shootings at the Newtown, Conn., elementary school were on the minds of Vicki Adams and Kim Speed two weeks ago as they handed out fliers advertising their upcoming community prayer meeting.
Adams and Speed and their husbands coordinate the prayer gathering, which since August has involved about a dozen people meeting together after church on the last Sunday of the month in downtown Arlington.
The 15-minute gathering includes prayer for Arlington’s mayor, City Council, police, firefighters and school employees. They pray for kids and young adults, and for those with problems linked to mental health, addiction and violence.
Speed, 47, and Adams, 59, are longtime friends who share their Christian faith, concern for the Arlington community and trials with troubled loved ones.
“I love Arlington, but we have problems here that are rampant and heartbreaking,” Adams said.
In July, after a drug deal gone bad and a fatal exchange of gunfire at the Blue Stilly access to the Stillaguamish River, Adams was distraught.
“I asked God what I could do to help these kids,” Adams said. “The answer was prayer, which is a tool we don’t use as much as we should. I also felt God wanted us to involve the community in this prayer circle.”
“In many ways, prayer was our only option. Lord knows we were trying everything else and it wasn’t working,” Speed said. “We know people have to be willing to receive help before you can give it.”
So they started the prayer gathering. They contacted friends, churches and business associates to tell them about the monthly meeting.
“It’s always short and sweet and seriously directed at people breaking free of drugs, alcohol and violence,” Speed said. “People of all beliefs are welcome. We’re not here to proselytize, but to lift community problems before the Lord. We have seen answers to prayer. Drug dealers have been arrested; loved ones are moving forward in their lives.”
To pray in public is to take a stand against evil, Adams said.
“The more we shine a light and offer hope …” Adams said.
“… the more the dark will dissipate,” said Speed, finishing the sentence.
With the new year at hand, at a time when people are remembering others and taking stock of their own lives, Adams and Speed anticipate that a few more people might join the prayer circle on Sunday.
“It’s a time to share joys and sorrows and offer prayers of protection for our community,” Adams said. “It gives us hope and shows people we care.”
The prayers are for strength, courage, wisdom and safety, she said.
“We’re just moms trying to care for our town,” Adams said.
Gale Fiege: 425-3393427; firstname.lastname@example.org.
A non-denominational community prayer gathering is set for 12:45 p.m. Sunday at the Legion Memorial Park gazebo, 114 N. Olympic Ave., in downtown Arlington. The monthly gathering focuses on prayer for families and young people. For more information, call Vicki Adams at 425-330-0585 or Kim Speed at 425-210-7573.