Prayer Vigil for Ukraine held in Salisbury Amphitheatre

SALISBURY, Md- A lit candle, a Ukrainian flag, a sunflower; these are the items that attendees brought with them to the Prayer Vigil for Ukraine in downtown Salisbury Thursday night.

“It was very emotional and I was there and I was freezing and I was thinking how lucky I am to be here freezing here than there being shot,” said attendee Ron Wilder. Wilder tells us he heard about the event online, and attended the event with his wife, both with a sunflower in hand.

“I brought the flower because of that woman who went viral in Ukraine giving them to the soldiers but the rest of that story is not too appropriate for me to tell,” Wilder says. The woman Wilder is referencing was captured in a viral Twitter video handing sunflowers to soldiers, telling them that if they fall that flowers would grow in their place.

Ukrainian Orthodox pastor Father Steven Hutnick, who led a prayer during the vigil, said the displays of support moved him as he looked out onto the crowd of over 50 that gathered at the riverwalk amphitheater.

“That was one of the things that actually brought tears to my eyes,” he said adding “there was a feeling of solidarity that all of that brought out.”

Vigil Organizer Mike Mathers says that’s why he wanted to have the vigil;  to give people that feeling to hold on to.

“we’ve all been glued to our televisions watching what’s happening but as the weeks go on this war drags out there will be other things that pop in so I want the feeling we have now to cement in everybody’s hearts and to be able to maintain that solidarity by being here tonight,” he said.

Mathers tells us he was deployed to neighboring Moldova as part of the peace corps where he fell in love with the Ukrainian city of Lviv. He tells us his deployment area is now the site of thousands of refugees and he felt the need to hold the rally, and involve religious leaders.

“There are more Ukrainians in this community than we think and we wanted to show that support to them and to their families overseas,” he said.

As part of their message of solidarity, vigil attendees were invited to light their candles and take a pledge to not let the local sting of US Sanctions against Russia such as higher gas prices break their support for the people of Ukraine.

“They took the pledge to no matter what the sanctions are that might hurt here that they will help they will continue to help and help those who cannot afford it and I think this is really a beautiful pledge to have taken,” Father Hutnick said.

Hutnick tells 47ABC, that what struck him the most was on his way to the vigil, where he was shocked to see the number of road signs and businesses that had changed their colors to the Ukrainian flag; a clear blue sky above a field of wheat.

“If there’s anything good that comes of this and nothing good comes out of the war it’s this simple fact that it has unified the world,” he said.



Categories: Local News, Maryland, Ukraine Impact