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A Prayer for Oneida Nation of the Thames

In 2015 and 2016 Yorkminster Park commissioned summer mission teams to work with the children of Oneida Nation of the Thames.  Our teams were deeply moved by the voices, faces, personalities and stories of these children and their families.  On Wednesday afternoon we received word that a fire had destroyed one of the homes in their community and that a father and four children had been killed.  Two of the boys who were killed had been in our summer program as had two of their siblings who survived the fire.  This tragic news has hit the hearts of our team members and our whole community.  And so we pray... 

Almighty and merciful Father, who sent forth your own Son that we might know life abundant and eternal, our hearts ache for an Oneida family that has lost not only sons, but also a father.  We confess, O God, that too often in our history we have set the fires and fanned the flames that would destroy our first nations.  Forgive us, for this day, O God, we would douse those flames with our tears and plant the seeds of peace and love.  

And so in this spirit, we pray for a family and a community ravaged by flame.  We commit to your care the young boys once in the care of our Oneida team.  May this whole family and community be aware of the embrace of your grace and the presence of our risen Lord Jesus Christ, who enables us to believe that the flames of life and even death cannot consume us.  Now in the assurance of that promise we commit to your loving care those who have been taken and those who are still with us and we pray for your comforting peace upon Oneida Nation of the Thames.  

We pray too for members of our own team who were touched by the voices and stories of this family.  As their hearts go out along with their prayers, bring comfort and hope and remind us again that all things work together for good for those who are called according to your purposes.  O God help us to obey your call and  to know your purposes this day for the good of one and all in the name of the One who was born to bring peace on earth and good will, and who died to break down the walls that divide us all and rose again to bring this broken world back to life abundant and eternal, here and now and forevermore, Amen.  


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Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church

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