Bahai News -- Neponset Valley Daily News - Churches, temples offer support LOCAL NEWS

Churches, temples offer support

By Kit Kadlec / CNC staff writer
Monday, February 3, 2003

A number of area churches and temples offered support over the weekend for residents mourning the loss of the seven astronauts killed in the space shuttle Columbia explosion.

While many services offered only silent prayers, others allowed their congregants to talk about the tragedy.

The Rev. Shawn Daggett, of the Church of Christ in Natick on North Street, said one member of his congregation, a Vietnam veteran, spoke up during the service in remembrance of the astronauts.

"He said, `We need to realize that there are people who make very large sacrifices on our behalf,'" Daggett said.

The Rev. Reuben Bell, of the Swedenborg Chapel on Maynard Road in Sudbury, said his congregation didn't mention the deaths in their service, but talked about the event later during the social hour.

"We talked about why God allows tragedies to happen in the world," he said. "We can use each catastrophe as a stepping stone to a higher spiritual state."

The Rev. Ronald Calhoun, of St. Jeremiah Church on Brook Street in Framingham, said remembrances of the astronauts were incorporated in the three Masses offered Saturday and yesterday, but no special service was held.

Praying for astronauts, even without a tragedy, was normal for parishioners at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Framingham, according to the Rev. Rebecca Black-Graham. She said the church has a regular prayer for astronauts.

This weekend, she gave that part some extra attention, though, she said.

"We included a special time for the astronauts and their families where you could pray silently," she said.

For religious groups that met on Saturday, some inserted a brief mention of the events, but didn't do anything elaborate due to the lack of preparation.

Robert Pascoe, chairman of the local Spiritual Assembly for the Baha'i Faith in Framingham, said he included a mention of the event in the group's regular "prayer for America."

"The crash was on the top of our minds," he said.

Rabbi Yakov Lazaros, of the Congregation Bais Chabad in Framingham, said the crash deserved extra attention and said a part of next Saturday's service will be dedicated to the astronauts.

He said members will recite the kaddish, a memorial for people who have died.

The loss of Israel's first astronaut, Col. Ilan Ramon, is especially on the minds of the Jewish community, Lazaros said, but all lives lost on the shuttle will be remembered next week.

"I'm upset all seven died," he said. "They were all good people."

©Copyright 2003, Neponset Valley Daily News (MA, USA)

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