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caption: Reverend Carey Anderson holds a candle in the air while leading a 'Mourning into Unity' prayer vigil in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Seattle's First A-M-E Church on Capitol Hill.
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Reverend Carey Anderson holds a candle in the air while leading a 'Mourning into Unity' prayer vigil in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Seattle's First A-M-E Church on Capitol Hill.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

At Seattle's oldest Black church, prayers for a peaceful election

Faith leaders held virtual events across the country Monday in which they lamented the grief caused by the Covid pandemic and racial injustice. Seattle’s vigil took place at the city’s oldest Black church.

At Seattle’s First AME Church on Capitol Hill, Reverend Carey Anderson said he knows that the grief over lives lost in the pandemic, jobs and businesses lost, and police killings of Black people feels insurmountable for many right now.

“We mourn the deaths tonight of those who have passed from Covid-19,” he told viewers of the virtual event. “We mourn for our democracy. We mourn for all of those who live in a world that sees the color of their skin as a threat.”

Elise DeGooyer with the Faith Action Network and Dr. Ahmad Mahallati also gave readings from scripture and the Koran before they collectively urged participants to have hope and believe that change will come.

Anderson said Covid has directly affected members of his congregation.

“And part of the problem is that when we’re trying to celebrate a life, you don’t have the facilities to have a funeral to commemorate their life, it’s only a select few” who can come together, he said.

caption: Frehiwot Bruce holds a candle in the air while attending the 'Mourning into Unity' prayer vigil led by Reverend Carey Anderson in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Seattle's First A-M-E Church on Capitol Hill.
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Frehiwot Bruce holds a candle in the air while attending the 'Mourning into Unity' prayer vigil led by Reverend Carey Anderson in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Seattle's First A-M-E Church on Capitol Hill.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

“The other impact has been the loss of jobs,” he said.

And for “those who lived with coronavirus, even though they haven’t passed, there’s some residual effects that they’re still going through.”

He said they don’t have access to the level of medical care that President Trump received during his bout.

“These are people who live a regular day-to-day existence, trying to survive,” he said. “The church’s response has been, let’s feed them.”

They are offering a drive-through food bank on Fridays.

Anderson and the other speakers asked people not to let grief have the final word. They gave thanks for the work of scientists and healthcare workers, prayed for peace and unity as Election Day approaches, and urged people to vote.

“For people of African-American descent, our forefathers and foremothers died so that we could get the right to vote,” Anderson said. “It’s not good enough for us to have our ballots sitting on the kitchen table and we leave them blank. Let’s get up, let’s put our pen to the paper and let us mark our conscience. Let us mark our choice.”

In his closing prayer Anderson asked, "Give us peace in our polling places. Safeguard each ballot that it truly be counted. Make of us all a more perfect union, that you might delight in the diversity of our democracy and our America."

caption: Reverend Carey Anderson leads a 'Mourning into Unity' prayer vigil in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Seattle's First A-M-E Church on Capitol Hill.
Enlarge Icon
Reverend Carey Anderson leads a 'Mourning into Unity' prayer vigil in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday, October 19, 2020, at Seattle's First A-M-E Church on Capitol Hill.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer