36 – Nonviolent Vigil Conductor
GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCTING A NONVIOLENT VIGIL
What is a Vigil?
A vigil is a “devotional watching” or “maintaining a state of spiritual wakefulness” in anticipation of positive change or things to come. Vigils have historically been associated with people of faith and religion. Originally and to this day they occur on the eve of a church feast and often involve fasting. Over time, however, vigils have also come to be viewed and used as outward symbols and demonstrations of people’s faith and hope surrounding various situations.
Why Do We Vigil?
We vigil primarily for our own spiritual renewal and for the hopeful transformation of society. We vigil in faithful anticipation that hearts and minds, especially those of our adversary, will be changed by our personal truth and witness. We participate in this humble process of voluntary redemptive suffering as yet -another way of demonstrating the power and presence of God in our lives and to renew our resolve in following God’s call for love, justice and mercy.
When Do We Vigil?
We vigil individually and/or collectively when the power of our inner “soul … force” spirit calls us. It is always prudent to initiate a vigil only after careful mental, physical and spiritual and preparation.
Additionally, Soulforce may elect to incorporate a vigil into a pre-planned direct action as an educational and informational venue and/or to serve as a means of opening (or re-opening) dialog and negotiations with an adversary.
Types of Soulforce Vigils
There are many types of vigils. Soulforce primarily uses two types: Silent vigils and teaching Vigils. A “silent vigil” is prayerful, without engaging in conversation with each other, passers-by or the media. In a “teaching vigil,” vigilers are interactive and communicate with the public and media, distributing leaflets or other educational materials. Soulforce occasionally incorporates both types during the same direct action.
When a vigil is part of a Soulforce direct action we vigil only as a team under the careful guidelines and directives set forth by the leadership team or designated person(s}. To do otherwise could not only jeopardize the safety of self and others but also undermine and be counter-productive to the overall success of the direct action and its goals.