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Springettsbury churches to hold cultural violence prayer vigil

Students walk past one of seventeen crosses after a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Fla., Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Nikolas Cruz, a former student, was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder on Thursday. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

In the light of recent tragic events, two Springettsbury Township churches are holding a Sunday evening community prayer vigil about cultural violence.

York First Church of the Brethren and Christ Disciples Assembly — which meets in the chapel of York First Church of the Brethren — will host the vigil from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 18, at 2710 Kingston Road.

The theme of the night's vigil is “Being ambassadors for Christ who, in light of the resurrection, live by love and not by fear," according to a news release.

The Rev. Joel Gibbel, of York First Church of the Brethren, stated in the release, "We have entered the season of Lent, and not without heavy hearts as we have witnessed yet another national tragedy, yet another school shooting."

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Gibbel continued, warning against “the type of prayer that lacks thoughtful and transformative power."

"If we are honest,” he stated, “the notion of `thoughts and prayers’ has come to imply the deep apathy that exists in our culture toward substantive change and the unwillingness to repent of the violence that is at the core of our civilization.”

He described the vigil as an opportunity to mourn tragedies such as the recent shooting, as well as "have courage and faith that God has not given up on us yet," according to the release.

In his statement, he urged others to "seek peace and pursue it," as is outlined in Psalm 34:14.

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The vigil is a joint effort between Gibbel and the Rev. Ebenezer Dadebo, of Christ Disciples Assembly, a church with a congregation predominantly of Africans and Ghanaians, according to the church's statement on the Church of the Brethren website.

The church's sanctuary, accessible from Sundale Drive, will host the vigil.

For more information visit for Christ Disciples Assembly and for York First Church of the Brethren.