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Letter to the Editor: "Thanks, Decorah, for caring so much about prayer"

Posted: Sun, May 12, 2019 3:15 PM

(The following Letter to the Editor has been submitted by the Reverend Amy Zalk Larson):

"I'm writing to say thank you to my neighbors in Decorah for caring so much about prayer. Thank you to all who prayed and meditated in any way on the recent National Day of Prayer: at Water Street Park, at the Courthouse and in private. Thank you to all who are concerned that prayer not be imposed by the state.

I so value prayer. I believe prayer changes things and, especially, that it changes us and opens us to be more loving and compassionate. I hope that next year our county day of prayer can truly be an inclusive community event that is open to all.  My concern with the prayer event at the courthouse was not a concern about prayer or about the free expression of Christian faith. Rather, I was troubled that a private, outside organization, the National Day of Prayer Task Force, was shaping an event that did not include all Christians, or people of other faiths in Decorah. I was troubled that when we asked if others could participate, the two co-coordinators said no.

My deep faith in a loving and welcoming God compelled me to join with others in offering an alternate event. The alternate event was not a protest or a critique of others. Rather, it provided space for people to pray and meditate in their own way while offering respect for the prayers and meditations of others.

Thank you, Decorah, for caring about prayer. Next year, on the day Americans are asked to pray and meditate, let's join together to do this."