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Since April, Sunday vigils at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge have been a singular affair—we decided to exercise extreme caution in the face of the coronavirus threat and we established one-person Sunday vigils. Since that time, we have maintained our weekly presence without fail.

The Board has now decided that we are prepared to do a limited re-opening of the Sunday vigil to allow for slightly more participation. We are doing this not because it is any safer virus-wise—it is not!—but because we believe we are conditioned to behaving safely and can safely gather for Sunday vigils, masked and maintaining a 6’ social distance, in groups of five or six. We also feel that, since we are approaching the season when vigils spill over into darkness, it is not completely safe to have one lone vigiler at the site.

How will we do this?

We are asking anyone who wants to attend a Sunday vigil to sign up in advance—by the Thursday before. There are two ways to sign up. You can email Ralph at or you can call him at 865 776 5050. If the five slots are already taken, we’ll ask you to wait until next week. If there is a slot open, you win the jackpot! We are going to do this on a weekly basis (so you can’t claim slots a month in advance) and will attempt to stagger attendance to make sure everyone gets to attend as often as possible.

All vigilers are expected to wear masks. Bring your own chair. Avoid physical contact and maintain an appropriate social distance in the circle of chairs. Of course, if for any reason you feel you may have been exposed to the virus or to someone with the virus, you should not attend the vigil.

OREPA Board members are still taking responsibility for vigil leadership—the person responsible will likely send out an email near the end of the month asking people who are willing to sign up to lead a vigil to pick a Sunday in the next month.

At this point, we are not resuming our monthly potlucks.


OREPA Newsletter


Reflections for Nonviolent Community


Sunday Vigil at Y-12 in Oak Ridge Tennessee

Sunday Vigil

OREPA has held Sunday vigils every week for more than 22 years at the main entrance to the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex (intersection of Scarboro Rd and East Bear Creek Road). We will now be holding the vigil at 4:00PM ET during the winter months so we don’t have to be sitting out in the dark. We are outdoors and space our chairs; when covid numbers are up, we encourage people to wear masks. Bring your own chair, we have some umbrellas for sun shade or rain.

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