A prayer vigil took place Friday evening at the Beauchamp Amphitheater for those who wished to reflect on today’s bus crash. ACU students and community members attended to pray for all those affected.
Dr. Mark Hamilton, associate dean of the Graduate School of Theology, led the service with songs and invited other ACU staff members to pray over the crowd.
Over 1000 people from the ACU and Abilene communities attended the outdoor service. Upon arrival, attendees were offered a candle to light and hold, though, due to the unexpectedly high numbers of people, organizers quickly ran out.
“There’s a fair amount of improvisation that goes on when you are trying to find the words that are best for the moment,” Hamilton said. “It’s not always obvious what those should be. Most people rise to the occasion. I think the students certainly did that last night.”
Amanda Wilson, junior animal science major from Walsenburg, Colo., was in the minibus at the time of the accident and spoke at the prayer vigil soon after being released from Ballinger Memorial Hospital and returning to Abilene.
“You are all such an amazing community. Your prayers and your support are so important to everybody involved in this,” she said.
At the vigil, Hamilton read from Psalm 130 and said that an occasion like this isn’t one we all want to come together for.
“We are a community. We pray together. We should be able to weep with those who weep, even if we are not affected directly,” Hamilton said.
“That part of the Bible is very precious to me,” Hamilton said. “I love the Psalms because they tell the truths about human life and they do it in such beautiful ways. I think the heart of prayer is an interesting relationship between an adoration of God and protest of God.”
Hamilton said that the vigil was not a time for answers but a time for the ACU community to be together, letting God take care of the “whys.”
“We shouldn’t be looking for quick answers or anything that can be fixed in a few days. This will take a while,” Hamilton said.
“Reach out when you can to the people who were involved and their friends and associates,” Hamilton said. “It will take a long time to work through this for many people, and some people will carry this scar for a long time because they lost their friends and faced their own mortality in a very real way.”
Another prayer service and devotional is set to take place at University Church of Christ Sunday at 9 pm. Chapel on Monday is also planned as a time of prayer for those affected by the crash. Anyone who wishes to attend is invited.