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Gig Harbor reverend gets chance to lead on bigger stage

Reverend Molly Fraser of Gig Harbor United Methodist Church offered a prayer to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11. She is flanked by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, left, and Rev. Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest who is serving as the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives.
Reverend Molly Fraser of Gig Harbor United Methodist Church offered a prayer to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11. She is flanked by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, left, and Rev. Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest who is serving as the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives. U.S. House Office of Photography

Reverend Molly Fraser of Gig Harbor United Methodist Church offered a prayer to the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington D.C. on Oct. 11.

Fraser was invited by Congressman Derek Kilmer, representative for Washington state’s 6th District, and a member of Gig Harbor United Methodist Church to offer the prayer.

“God of many names,” Fraser prayed. “We give thanks for the opportunity to serve. Remind us that we are servants of our country, our people, and the land. Let us not forget all the blessings you have given us so that we might use our power and influence to help order the country in ways that allow each and every person to find life and liberty, and to pursue happiness.

“We come, perhaps already weary from an onslaught of emails, texts, tweets, phone calls and meetings where people make demands on how we vote, and assumptions about every decision we put forward. Help us, O God, to do the right thing, not just for a few, but for the many. Help us work together diligently, so we might see the fruit of our efforts grow into good throughout our country, which can serve to make this world more livable for all. Amen.”

Fraser has offered prayer at past civic events, and believes it can sometimes be a uniting thing.

“What I have learned is that public prayer before their work begins serves as a bridging neutral ground, reminding everyone in the room that there is a higher power above them that seeks unity and good for all,” she said.

Kilmer echoed this same sentiment, saying “It’s one of those moments where politics get put aside, and I think that’s a good thing even just for a brief moment.”

Prayers happen in both D.C. and Olympia, and they allow people to think about the bigger issues at play, Kilmer said.

Fraser said her favorite part of going to D.C. was touring the Capitol behind the scenes with Kilmer and meeting Rev. Patrick Conroy, a Jesuit priest who is serving as the 60th Chaplain of the House of Representatives.

“And Speaker Paul Ryan has the best handshake,” she said.

When it came to becoming a reverend, Fraser said that like many pastors before her, she felt she couldn’t continue to avoid God’s call.

After her church confirmed the call, she went through an ordination process that included getting her master’s of divinity degree from Seattle University.

“In the United Methodist Church, we are appointed by our bishop to a local church, so that is how I landed in Gig Harbor,” she said.

According to C-SPAN, opening prayers from congressional chaplains have been part of U.S. Legislature since the country’s founding.

Kilmer said a prayer is given before the start of each House meeting, either from Conroy or another faith leader, like Fraser.

“The chaplain’s office invites people from all denominations to offer the prayer,” Kilmer said.

Kilmer invited Fraser to choose a few dates that she would be able to offer the prayer, and his office wrote to the chaplain’s office to start the process.

“I really was grateful that Pastor Molly was able to participate,” Kilmer said. “The Gig Harbor United Methodist Church is really committed to the community and the well-being of the people in the community.”

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