United in Faith

There will be a prayer for survivors of sexual assault and interpersonal violence at 8 p.m. today at Elliston Chapel hosted by current students and alumni. This will be the first in a four- part series, today’s topic, “A Space for Lament,” will focus on where God is when bad things happen.

Lament, meaning to mourn deeply and express grief or sorrow, is an idea greatly discussed in the Old Testament. Lament is often used in the Psalms as a form of prayer to ask God where He is in tragedy.

Sharyl West Loeung, a 2011 Truett Seminary graduate, is helping host the event. She and six of her friends who are current Baylor students or fellow graduates meet for lunch regularly and often talk about current issues at Baylor. In light of recent events on campus and across the country regarding sexual assault, Loeung and her friends began discussing what they could do to help. That’s when they came up with the idea to host prayer services.

“We hope this will help people who have survived violence begin to see that God has something for them,” Loeung said. “There is room in the church and in the Bible for negative emotions. We want to show that the church cares about them and their pain.”

Lilly Ettinger Leman, 2015 Truett Seminary graduate, is the pastor of First United Church in West and was also part of the conversation with Loeung. She helping facilitate the events. Leman has close friends who have experienced interpersonal violence and has seen first-hand how painful it can be. She hopes these prayer services can help comfort survivors and educate supporters.

“I don’t want anyone to feel alone in their anger and hurt. God is not silent about sexual assault, and I won’t be either,” Leman said.

Their Facebook page, “Prayer for survivors: A Space for Lament” describes the event as “open to male and female survivors of assault, all supporters of survivors and all interested parties of any faith.”

The services will be led by students, alumni, pastors and counselors and will include music, prayer, and read and response activities. Today’s service will last about 45 minutes. The chapel will be open after and pastors and counselors will be available for prayer and conversation. All services will be held at Elliston Chapel at 8 p.m. The other topics are “A Space for Silence” on March 1st, “A Space for Anger” on March 15 and “A Space for Hope” on March 29.