Members of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective are working to help people contemplate and find peace before the anniversary of the Unite the Right Rally last August. 

People have been invited to gather this week to pray and meditate with the collective at Market Street Park to help deal with the extra stress.

The Clergy Collective is leading both morning and afternoon prayer and meditation sessions this week. Sessions during the week will focus on prayer at 6 a.m. and meditation at noon.

Last year, the group held similar events that were open to the public and this year, the group wants to do more.

Annie Marie Smith, a future chaplain, took turns with other leaders in the collection in leading people who showed up in prayer and meditation. Smith hopes that the meetings can help the community come together.

“We hold the potential for love to occur in this space because that happened too when people of faith and community members showed up to say no to hate,”

Smith said. “So we hold all of that and we’re trying to saturate this space with compassion and love in the face of frankly unknowing.”

Smith and the other members of the collective hope their work can bring a spirit of wholeness to Charlottesville throughout this week. Some people who meditated with the collective on Monday found a sense of togetherness and comfort while some are still coping with the uncertainty surrounding the weekend.

“To pray or contemplate in community is a very powerful and much different than doing it in isolation or alone and as parts of the Charlottesville community, we are really in this all together,” Smith said.

The Clergy Collective is hosting an interfaith service at The Haven on Thursday evening. The meetings will continue to take place twice a day through Friday with different contemplations each day.