Bahai News -- Bettendorf News - Quad-City service draws from many walks of faith Last Updated: 11:44 pm, Thursday, September 11th, 2003
Quad-City service draws from many walks of faith

By Mary Louise Speer

Quad-Citians shared candlelight, prayed together and reflected on meditations spoken in Arabic, Eastern Indian, English, Hebrew, Korean and Spanish during a Thursday evening interfaith ceremony recalling the tragic events of Sept. 11.

. The Interfaith Celebration of Human Unity at Davenport’s Vander Veer Botanical Park was sponsored by Bridges of Faith, Churches United of the Quad-City Area and Quad-Cities Interfaith.

“We worked to make it a prayer service but also a celebration of human unity,” said the Rev. Ronald Quay, executive director of Churches United. “We recognize that faith can often divide us — and it can bring us together.”

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Cantor Gail Karp of Temple Emanuel, Davenport, and Malek Abdel-Fattah of the Quad-Cities Islamic Center, stood side-by-side as they extended greetings to the 300-plus people attending the service.
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Rabbi Henry Karp of Temple Emanuel read a Mourner’s Kaddish for all those who died Sept. 11, and Dr. Rajdnrea Dahal, of the Quad-Cities Hindu community, asked that good might befall all there.
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“We pray to God for comfort, we are discomforted by the idea of God,” said Dr. Joe Maciejko, of the Unitarian Church of Davenport.
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The Rev. Jerrod Parker, pastor of Greater Antioch Baptist Church of Rock Island, wryly talked about being told how long he had for the keynote address. “Do you realize you’ve asked a Baptist preacher to preach for five minutes?” he joked.
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He shared a story about a victim of Sept. 11 who was trapped under a steel beam. Unable to free herself, the woman began banging with a cement block, hoping someone would hear. A firefighter did and rescued her. “There are many in our community who have fallen under the rubble of hardship. Let us be the hand that fights through the rubble,” he said.
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Youth from the community took turns praying for children “who sneak popsicles before dinner” and for those children “who stare at guns from behind barbed wire.”
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“Oh Lord of forgiveness and pardon,” prayed Rita Landers who represented the Quad-Cities Baha’i community. “Forgive our sins, pardon our shortcomings and cause us to turn to the kingdom of thy clemency.”
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The ceremony ended with lighting candles as youth from the Moline Boys Choir sang “Let There Be Peace On Earth.” Gail Karp shared her flame with the Rev. William Franklin, bishop of the Diocese of Davenport, and Dr. Lisa Zaynab Killinger of the Muslim community, went from person to person, sharing her light.
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“For many of us, candles have a symbolism,” Abdel-Fattah said. “They are a tiny light in the dark.”
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Three members of the Moline Boys Choir privately shared their feelings about the observance and Sept. 11.
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“Wow, look at the way this brings us together,” said Stephan Clark, 14, of Rock Island.
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“It shows we all have pride for our country,” Jared Smith, 14, of Moline, said.
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“I think they pretty much attacked us because they wanted what we have which is pride and freedom,” Tim Smith, 14, of Moline, said.
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Since then, he believes the United States has learned “ways to improve our security and not to discriminate against people just because they have a different appearance.”
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“I think we tend to forget how diverse our community is in our day-to-day lives because we operate in such a small realm in our daily schedules,” Gail Karp said. “Observances like this heighten our sensitivity and make us mindful of what a melting pot the United States truly is.”

The city desk can be contacted at (563) 383-2245 or newsroom@qctimes.com

©Copyright 2003, Quad-City Times (Davenport, IA, USA)

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