Bahai News -- The Cincinnati Post - Multiple religions at peace service
Multiple religions at peace service
Post staff reporter
The Rev. Canon Kwasi Thornell hoped for more response from the faithful.
Few parishioners, however, attended an inter-denominational prayer service about the war in Iraq that he organized and helped lead Sunday night
at Christ Church Cathedral Downtown.
The "Interfaith Witness for Peace" service drew just less than 100 worshippers -- less than half of what a typical Sunday morning service
draws to the Christ Church Cathedral.
Maybe the nearly perfect weather outside the walls of the church kept people away, Rev. Thornell mused.
Or maybe they stayed at home, glued to their television sets, preferring to watch a slam dunk during the NCAA basketball tournament than pray
for an end to the war with Iraq.
Though few in number, those who did attend Sunday's anti-war service represented virtually every religious faith in Greater Cincinnati.
Despite their religious differences, they offered common prayers for the civilians doomed to die in Iraq, for the American soldiers in battle
and for the charities that will aid the wounded and find shelter for the displaced.
At Sunday's service, Aziz Rahman, a member of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, stepped to the church podium to perform the Adan, the
Muslim call to prayer.
The call is heard every day from minarets around the world. Rahman filled his lungs with air, closed his eyes and sang out long syllables
in Arabic, in an ornate melody embellished with half- and quartertones.
"War is always a tragedy," the Lawrenceburg, Ind. resident said. "Too many innocent people are going to lose their lives."
Seated next to Rahman at the podium was Rabbi Susan Einbinder, who said: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor."
During the service, a long blast from a shofar, a ram's horn, was heard from the podium, with another echoing from the balcony.
The ancient Hebrews used the horn as a priestly instrument in Biblical times. Today, Jews use it in their New Year and Day of Atonement services.
Quakers and Catholics joined the Muslims and Jews in their prayers for peace. Michael Gable, of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, read Jesus'
words on loving one's enemies from the gospel of Matthew:
"Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In that way you will be acting as true children of your father in heaven."
Byron Branson brought a message from the Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers, condemning the war as unnecessary, immoral and unwise. Even
if the war ends quickly and seems a success, it will still represent a failure on many levels, Branson said.
Lia Ferrell, a member of the spiritual assembly of the Baha'i Faith of Greater Cincinnati, read the words of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the
faith: "Let a man not glory in this, that he loves his country. Let him rather glory in this, that he loves his kind."
The Rev. James Diamond, dean of the cathedral, said in a sermon that people need to be more than just against war.
"We need to be people who seek peace and who come to peace demonstrations because we're for all the possibilities of peace," he said.
"We're here to thank God for all the possibilities of peace that reside among us," he said.
In his concluding prayer for peace, Thornell quoted the prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace."
At the end of the service, the congregation brought candles to the altar and left them burning as part of a 24-hour prayer vigil inside the
As they left, worshippers took home buttons with the names and ages of Iraqi children for which to offer prayers.
Services like this one bring people together for peace, Fort Thomas resident Pat Coyle said, and that's a good thing.
If any good comes from the war with Iraq, he said, it would be a growing consensus for peace.
"I think it will be a long time before Iraq has peace," said his wife, Sigred Coyle.
©Copyright 2003, The Cincinnati Post (OH, USA)
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