In February of 1987, Father Ed Hird, new Rector of St. Simons in North Vancouver, was met with some uncomfortable news. The Vestry told him the budget was down from the previous year, and if things didn’t shape up, they wouldn’t be able to pay him by June.
“I told them not to worry,” said Fr Hird. “God always pays for what He orders. They left the meeting feeling better. I left feeling worse.”
Over the next few months, Fr. Hird learned something about dependence upon God, and his church learned the importance of praying together. That November, St. Simon’s hosted its first 24-hour prayer vigil and moved deeper into a life of common prayer.
Twenty-eight years later, it is not unusual for St. Simons to host four to five vigils a year: before Lent, before Pentecost, in the summer, before their “Back-to-Church” event in September, and during their annual stewardship campaigns.
“We have found that the most effective thing we can to get our church’s needs met is to pray,” said Fr. Hird. “It is how we get funding in the dry summer months, how we recruit Sunday School teachers, and how we engage in meaningful outreach.”
Each Prayer Vigil focuses on a passage of scripture, and every person who signs up for a one-hour block receives prayer points to guide their time. During St. Simon’s recent Summer Strengthening prayer vigil, parishioners and Sister Churches prayed through Ephesians.
“The book of Ephesians is filled with remarkable prayers,” said Fr. Hird.
Filled with remarkable prayers: not a bad description of St. Simon’s.
To join St. Simon’s in prayer, email Ed.