Rev. Israel Anchan

The Rev. Israel Anchan, of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kankakee, has organized a prayer vigil for Tuesday evening at the Kankakee County Courthouse. The purpose is to pray for the thousands of children separated from their parents at the U.S. border in recent months.

Could you imagine being separated from your children?

Between Oct. 1 2017, and May 31, 2018, thousands of children have experienced such separation at the United States border with Mexico, where scores of people have tried to unlawfully cross in search of refuge.

The Department of Homeland Security recently placed the number of separated children at 1,995, and estimates of at least 2,700 have been cited by other sources.

What can be done to rectify the situation? The Rev. Israel Anchan suggests prayer.

A prayer vigil is being held from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday on the front lawn of the Kankakee County Courthouse, 450 E. Court St.

Led by Anchan, rector of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Kankakee, the vigil invites members of the clergy and the community to come stand as one and pray for the families who have been separated.

“This is disturbing and very heartbreaking,” Anchan said. “Families shouldn’t be divided, whether they’re immigrants, undocumented or not. It weakens the community.

“Children and parents really support each other; if we’re divided, we lose strength. Everyone has weaknesses,” Anchan said. “There’s strength not only in our wisdom and knowledge, but in our weaknesses.”

This prayer vigil is not meant to be a political rally, and does not endorse a particular political party, agenda, politician or elected person.

The vigil will include not only prayer, but Scripture readings as well. Everyone is welcome to join.

“I’ve seen that, sometimes (in my experience), prayer works,” Anchan said. “We’ll be praying for everyone, whether or not they have faith. It’s universal.”