The spiritual head of the Episcopal (Anglican) Church of the USA, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, has called for prayer following the recent explosions in Boston which killed three people and injured more than 150 others. Bishop Jefferts Schori, who is in Okinawa, Japan for the Second Worldwide Anglican Peace Conference, also offered the following prayer:
 
Gracious God, you walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death. We pray that the suffering and terrorized be surrounded by the incarnate presence of the crucified and risen one. May every human being be reminded of the precious gift of life you entered to share with us.  May our hearts be pierced with compassion for those who suffer, and for those who have inflicted this violence, for your love is the only healing balm we know. May the dead be received into your enfolding arms, and may your friends show the grieving they are not alone as they walk this vale of tears.  All this we pray in the name of the one who walked the road to Calvary. Amen.
 
The Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts announced that it would hold a prayer service with Holy Eucharist on April 16 at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston, with Bishop Suffragan Gayle Harris presiding, “assuming downtown conditions and transit have regularized.”
Bishop Tom Shaw, Bishop of Massachusetts, also requested prayers “for the City of Boston and all affected by and responding to this afternoon’s explosions.” 

Some Massachusetts churches responded to the tragedy by gathering in prayer.

The Revd Timothy Schenck, rector of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church in Hingham, Massachusetts, announced on Facebook that the parish would hold a 7 p.m. prayer service.

“All are invited as we pray for the victims of today’s tragedy in Boston and try to make sense of this in the context of our faith,” wrote Schenck, who ran the marathon himself in 2008. 

Trinity Church in Rockland, Massachusetts, reported on Facebook: “Church is open now if anyone needs to come and pray. Shaken to the core by what just happened in Boston.”
 
The Boston marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon, having begun in 1897, and is run on Patriots’ Day, the third Monday in April. The day, which is a legal holiday in the state, commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War, which took place April 19, 1775.
 
 
With the Revd Mary Frances Schjonberg, who is an editor and reporter for the Episcopal News Service. ENS correspondent Sharon Sheridan also contributed to this story.
 

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