Amistad Chapel to host interfaith prayer service for Cleveland’s next mayor
The United Church of Christ Amistad Chapel will be hosting an interfaith prayer service on Jan. 2, to bless the first term of Cleveland’s next mayor.
But because of the surge in COVID-19 cases, the service is limited to a very small number of in-person participants, wearing masks, who will be spaced around the chapel. The public is invited to join online.
The gathering at the UCC Church House at 700 Prospect for mayor-elect Justin Bibb will be the last time a group will gather in the iconic chapel in prayer, as the UCC national offices are slated to move into smaller, leased space in the first quarter of 2022.
General Minister and President John Dorhauer will be offering a welcome to the local interfaith leaders coming together in the chapel and to the participants online.
“This is an honor for us to host this event for our new mayor,” he said, “and to me personally to speak on our behalf at this service of recognition.”
The Sunday prayer service, scheduled from 3:30-5:00 ET, will be livestreamed on the Bibb transition team’s Facebook page and the BibbForCLE YouTube Channel.
The rapid surge of the Omicron variant in the Greater Cleveland area changed plans for Mayor-elect Bibb’s service late last week, moving it exclusively online. His Jan. 8 swearing-in ceremony, first planned for Cleveland’s Public Hall, will also be conducted virtually due to COVID concerns.
In fact, the speed in which the variant has been spreading throughout the country had a countless number of UCC churches scrambling to rethink plans for Christmas services. Many moved services outdoors or online to keep their congregants safe. The national officers acknowledged the struggle late last week in “A Message of Hope and Love to Our Churches.”
“As many wrestle with whether or not to hold fast to our traditions of gathering to worship and celebrate the coming of the Christ Child on this Christmas Eve, in the midst of a pandemic that just will not end, please know that we are holding you all in prayer, knowing you are each making the best decision you can for the safety and health of those you love. We know and feel the angst of those who will gather tonight, even if that is physically distanced, masked and vaccinated. We also know the disappointment of those who will not. No matter your decision, we are praying for each of you the Peace of this season and the Hope secured in knowing that although we must err on the side of caution once again, Emmanuel-God with Us, is indeed with us and soon we will gather safely again.”
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