Arlington Street Church Decommissions Prayer Flags

October 29, 2013
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The Arlington Street Church decommissioned the prayer flags started after the Boston Marathon bombings on Oct. 20, marking the next step forward in the healing process on the six-month anniversary of the tragedy.

Inspired by a Japanese spiritual tradition, church officials said participants wrote prayers on ribbons and tied them to the church fence along Boylston Street. This launched a healing ministry as people from Boston and all over the world came to participate in the project. At the decommissioning event, all the flags were ceremoniously taken down before being brought inside the church, where they were blessed during a worship service.

Arlington Street Church historian and archivist Holly Hendricks will select some of the prayer flags to create a memorial quilt to be unveiled next April on the one-year anniversary of the bombings, and Rev. Kim Crawford Harvie ritually burned the rest and blessed the ashes at the church’s annual Day of the Dead service on Oct. 27. This spring, upon the one-year anniversary of the bombings, the ashes will be scattered in the church’s garden as a symbol of renewal and new life, according to church officials.

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