Where there's tragedy, there's prayer.
Last Wednesday, about two dozen people gathered at a special community prayer service for the people of Japan at St. James Lutheran Church in Concord.
The downtown corner church on Union Street began offering weekly Wednesday services the day after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Organist Mark Frye, director of worship and music at the church, has organized a handful of special services that offered prayer for victims of Hurricane Katrina, the 2004 Indonesian tsunami, Haiti's earthquake and most recently Japan's March 11 earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks.
Never miss a local story.
Frye and a handful of parish choir members performed Eliza Gilkyson's "Requiem," a song written in response the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.
"The text is stirring and poignant, appropriate for today," said Frye before sharing the songwriter's text. "All our homes are gone, our loved ones taken, taken by the sea. ... Our world has been shaken, we wander our homelands forsaken. ... In the dark of night of the soul, your shattered dreamers, make them whole."
Pastor Dan Warnes delivered call-and-response prayer and guests read along and sang hymns with the choir.
Warnes said it's natural for people to gather and pray when disasters occur; it allows them to reach out to God and others.
"But we're also changed when we pray," he said. "We become more passionate and aware of needs. We certainly remember what it was like for us when disaster struck - hurricanes, 9-11 - we were shocked, confused and devastated.
"And people all around the world gathered for us."