'We must be here now': Hundreds attend Highland Park vigil for prayer and healing

  • Highland Park resident Rachel Jacoby cries as she reads the name of a person killed in the Fourth of July parade shooting, before a vigil Tuesday night at Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

    Highland Park resident Rachel Jacoby cries as she reads the name of a person killed in the Fourth of July parade shooting, before a vigil Tuesday night at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Hayley Johnson, right, of Lutheran Church Charities, gives a hug to Highland Park resident Rachel Jacoby before the start of a vigil Tuesday evening at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Names of those killed in the shooting were written on hearts outside of the church.

    Hayley Johnson, right, of Lutheran Church Charities, gives a hug to Highland Park resident Rachel Jacoby before the start of a vigil Tuesday evening at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Names of those killed in the shooting were written on hearts outside of the church. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Names of those killed in the Highland Park parade shooting were written on hearts outside of the vigil Tuesday night at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Janelle Sloma of Lutheran Church Charities pauses in silence at one of the hearts.

    Names of those killed in the Highland Park parade shooting were written on hearts outside of the vigil Tuesday night at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Janelle Sloma of Lutheran Church Charities pauses in silence at one of the hearts. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Hundreds filled the pews Tuesday night within the sanctuary of Highland Park Presbyterian Church for an interfaith prayer vigil after a mass shooting just blocks away Monday.

      Hundreds filled the pews Tuesday night within the sanctuary of Highland Park Presbyterian Church for an interfaith prayer vigil after a mass shooting just blocks away Monday. Christopher Placek | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/5/2022 10:10 PM

Friends, neighbors and perfect strangers turned to each other in the crowded pews of Highland Park Presbyterian Church Tuesday night, sharing pieces of their broken hearts.

And then, the Rev. Suzan Hawkinson, pastor of nearby First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield, challenged them: "Be brave and speak a word that you believe is the next right step to day two, and day three, of healing."

 

Hawkinson was among the nearly dozen clergy members from Highland Park and Deerfield who organized the ecumenical community prayer vigil, which was attended by some 500 people, just blocks from the scene of the July 4 parade mass shooting.

Quincy Worthington, pastor at Highland Park Presbyterian, started talking with the other religious leaders shortly after the shooting Monday about the need for a prayer vigil. The interfaith service included representatives from Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, Catholic, Unitarian Universalist and Bahai houses of worship.

Across town at Immaculate Conception Church, Cardinal Blase Cupich celebrated a bilingual Mass of peace and healing. Jewish congregations also held services, including North Shore Congregation of Israel, the Glencoe synagogue of shooting victim Jacki Sundheim.

"This is a moment where our brokenness becomes apparent," Worthington said. "And I think for so long in our culture and society we're taught to hide the broken pieces. But my faith teaches me that God takes these broken pieces and puts them together and uses them to make the world whole."

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"To have moments where we open up places of vulnerability, places to share that brokenness with each other and to realize that we're not alone or going through these things alone, I think that's where the healing begins," Worthington said.

The ecumenical vigil included readings from scripture, music, and prayers from all of the gathered clergy.

Outside, some paused and prayed as they read the names of victims written on wooden hearts on the church lawn.

"We don't all pray the same," said Dale Susan Edmonds, of United Church of Christ Deerfield. "We don't all believe that prayer does the same thing. But something in us knows we must be here now."

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