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Amid the morning rush, moments of Advent peace

Posted by Liam O'Kennedy  December 21, 2012 08:00 AM

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Left to right: The Reverend Noah H. Evans of Grace Episcopal Church in Medford, and parishioners John Rogers, Cindy Scott, and Eva Englert. The team prayed with commuters at the West Medford commuter rail station Wednesday morning.

Amid the streams of hurried commuters passing through the West Medford commuter rail station early Wednesday morning, a sharply dressed businesswoman stood before The Reverend Noah H. Evans, her head bowed.

His hands atop her head, Evans prayed: "Loving God, help her to know your peace and comfort during this darkest week of the year. And help her to know that she is enfolded with your love all days and throughout this day."

The woman, a mother deeply shaken by the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., just days earlier, had asked Evans to pray for the protection of her children.

"She had a deep sense of vulnerability," said Evans, 35, rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Medford for the last five years.

As he prayed, the woman cried.

The two had never met. She was on her way to work when she saw Evans and three Grace Episcopal parishioners offering prayers and blessings to passersby and commuters waiting for their trains.

A sign they held read: "Blessing Station. Come and experience a moment of Advent peace in the midst of life's busyness."

"This time of year is full of a lot of joy and anticipation and excitement, but it's also a time for many people who know loss or grief or sadness," Evans said. "Our hope was to bring a little bit of Christ's light and hope in the midst of that darkness."

For over an hour, Evans and Grace Episcopal parishioners Eva Englert, Cindy Scott, and John Rogers prayed with more than 20 people.

Some asked for prayers for the protection of their children. Others had loved ones in the hospital, or were facing unemployment.

The Grace Episcopal team ministered to strangers in the cool December air. There was intermittent drizzle. But it was work Evans was happy to do, and plans to do again.

"I was nervous to bring sacramental ministry onto the street," Evans said. "But right away people began to walk up to us. I think it went really well."

Liam O'Kennedy can be reached at liam.okennedy@globe.com.

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