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Prayer for McKeesport to highlight light up night

| Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Carolyn Rockwell, left, Pastor Jay Hollinsworth and Sharon Blacka make final plans for McKeesport Presbyterian Church's Lightup Night on Sunday which will include A Prayer for the City of McKeesport.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Carolyn Rockwell, left, Pastor Jay Hollinsworth and Sharon Blacka make final plans for McKeesport Presbyterian Church's Lightup Night on Sunday which will include A Prayer for the City of McKeesport.

When the corner of Versailles and Union streets comes ablaze with lights during McKeesport Presbyterian Church's light up night on Sunday at 6:30, there will be something new.

Pastor Jay Hollinsworth said a prayer for the city and its churches will be offered at the annual Christmas event.

“This is a community effort. When we were at International Village, we did a prayer booth. We looked at some of the prayer requests and worked some of those requests into the prayer,” he said.

Parishioner Sharon Blacka said the prayer was written in part, as the result of violence in the city.

“We were thinking of something we could do to address the issue of violence in our community. We wondered what we could do when you feel so helpless with all the shootings and we decided prayer was the best thing,” she said.

“There are issues of drug abuse and poverty. The problems are widespread. Maybe I don't have a billion (dollars) to fix everything, but this prayer might be the most powerful thing we can do,” Blacka said of other things facing people in the community.

In keeping with the city's message of hope, love, dignity and respect, the prayer incorporates those components.

The Christmas Prayer for the City of McKeesport is:

God of Light, gift us with hope in times of darkness. Faith in the face of depression. Abundance when our resources are scarce. And trust in times of doubt.

Guiding Star, lead our hearts day and night. Strengthen our families to be as strong as steel. Make our community (McKeesport) a place that values all people. Grant us hearts that show love, respect and dignity to all. Create in us a community that guides and protects our children. Give our children ambition, wisdom and discipline to achieve their dreams.

Spirit of Holy Fire, burn away our impurities and addictions. Light up our lives with your truth. Ignite our passion for justice. Show us how to lift each other with kindness. Place encouraging words upon our lips. Light our city with your love and truth.

In the name of Jesus Christ, who taught us that to love God is to love our neighbor. Amen.

“If we can incorporate the peace that comes with Christmas into our hearts and families, it will be a step in the right direction for a blessing,” Hollinsworth said. “Prayer is what we do. We shouldn't hide our light under a bushel.”

Blacka agreed. “If the whole city or one individual is helped through this prayer, it has worked. God blesses us in so many ways.”

The annual community event will feature cookies and cocoa, a craft for children that they can take home, Christmas carols and lighting of the tree.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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