LED lights twinkled over Old Main lawn as a group of about 100 people gathered to attend the White-Out Prayer Vigil on Friday night.
Attendees heard musical performances, prayed for a better future for the Penn State community and stood “Proud, Strong and United.”
Vaughn Wilson welcomed everyone to the event and started the night with a “We Are” chant.
As he introduced the schedule of events, he said, “We are here to ask God for his guidance,” and that God will bring the community into a future that will be better than before.
Tabatha Emel and Jason McKenzie started off the night performing the song “Wash Over Me” as the crowd swayed and even chimed in for the chorus.
Next, Joel Kramer, Class of 1999,, a leader of the Victory Christian Fellowship on Penn State’s campus, presented a video of four football players, thanking everyone for coming out to the event.
“God’s doing something special,” Kramer said referring to the football team.
In the video, Penn State football player Shane McGregor (senior-journalism and English)said that the events that overtook the university were the darkest days in its history. He compared this to the dark days when Jesus was in the tomb, and said that Jesus came out in glory, and the university will be able to do the same.
Pastor Mitch Smith of Christ Community Church started his prayer service by thanking everyone in the crowd for coming and showing support. He continued by thanking the administration for allowing them to host the event and the fact that they are permitted to openly pray in public.
Smith read psalms that emphasized that God was planning on cleansing the university and bringing peace. As he told the crowd, “don’t let the media tell us what our future looks like,” as the Old Main bells began chiming in the background.
After the Pastor finished the prayer by reciting the Lord’s Prayer, Allan Scott sang and played guitar while artist Joshua Deutsch began free style spray-painting a canvas. He painted an image of the “Penn State student body being lifted” by the hands of God. In the empty space when he was finished, he wrote “WE ARE…” and participants signed the painting with different phrases such as “saved,” “forgiven,” “purposeful” and “forever yours.”
Jason Pelletier, a Penn State alumnus, said he attended the vigil because he believed in its cause.
“People are quick to move on,” he explained. “Basking in [the events that took place] isn’t a bad thing; it’s necessary to learn and grow from it.”
Stephen Thor, a Penn State alumnus, is a member of the group that created the idea of a prayer vigil. He said that he and his friends felt like this was the best way to bring the community together.
“We’re proud, strong, and united for what God will do,” he said. “God has big plans with this university.”