Tonight is the first in a series of prayer services for survivors of sexual violence. The services are broken up into several themes -- tonight's is lament. For KWBU, Avery Lill has more.
This evening students, ministers, Baylor faculty, and other members of the Waco community will gather on Baylor campus to participate in a prayer service for survivors of sexual violence. Tonight is the first prayer service in a series of four. Burt Burleson, Baylor University Chaplain who is partnering with the leaders of this series explains.
“The services are designed so that those who are either dealing with aftermath of some sort of interpersonal violence, sexual assault, something maybe even from their past, or those who are just walking alongside them, people who just care about this reality in our culture and on our campus”, Burleson said. “They’re designed for those folks to come that is safe and honest.”
Each of the four services will focus on a different theme: Lament, Silence, Anger, and Hope. Natalie Webb, a current doctoral student in New Testament at Baylor and one of the organizers of the service spoke to tonight’s topic.
“Tonight’s theme is lament”, Webb said. “So we’re trying to create a space for people where it’s okay to grief and it’s okay to come to God in your grief, without feeling like everything’s just going to be okay all of the sudden.”
Tonight’s service will begin at 8:00 p.m in Elliston Chapel on Baylor campus. The service has been designed in consultation with mental health professionals, sexual assault experts, and experienced clergy in order to provide a safe and un-invasive space for those who participate. Natalie Webb explains,
“We’re also going to have pastors and counselors available to just talk or really just listen if anyone needs their story to be heard or point them in the direction for more help” Webb said.
Later services will be held on March 1st, March 15th, and March 29th. In addition, after the prayer service on March 15th, the organizers are planning an open mic night at the Hippodrome for survivors to speak out about their experiences.