Orchard Park Presbyterian Church opens doors for community prayer


Orchard Park Presbyterian Church is opening its doors from noon to 1 p.m. each day through Easter for community prayer. (Submitted photo)

By Chris Bavender

A Carmel church is offering its sanctuary from noon to 1 p.m. each day through Easter to anyone in the community who wants to pray. Orchard Park Presbyterian Church aims to give community members a place to find peace from the pressures and anxieties of daily life.


“This idea came from the feeling of being inundated by the news, social media and the overwhelming feeling, I think, we all have been feeling, regardless of our perspective on the issues.  There is a lot coming at us,” said Rev. Dr. Shelly Wood, senior pastor at Orchard Park. “It’s tempting to want to shut down and turn off the news, but we still want to be informed and involved. So the idea of stopping to pray as a community was a way to remind people to get out of their anxiety, or anger, or frustration and turn to God and remember that God is present in the world and their lives as well.”

Wood said the idea for the call to prayer was to put people before politics.

“The people in the pews are all just people. So we work to put people before politics. We know that no matter what, if our neighbor was in need, we would be a neighbor, regardless of their political ilk,” Wood said. “There are a lot of opinions out there as to what the church’s role should be, and I think fundamentally the church should be a place that models a sacred community, and sacred communities pray together, welcome the stranger and love their neighbors.”

But she said it all begins with prayer.

“If we aren’t praying for each other and together, and if we are not relying on God to guide us, we are like a ship without an anchor,” Wood said.

Learn more about the open prayer time at Orchard Park, 1605 E 106th St., at orchardpark.org/blog/praying-in-challenging-times.

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