Bahai News - Americans hold prayer services Friday, September 14, 2001 - 11:20 a.m. Pacific

Americans hold prayer services after Bush proclaims national day of remembrance

By Rachel Zoll
The Associated Press

Chapel doors of the First Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., opened for prayers and solace as dawn broke Friday on a national day of remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks.

"We will pray for our city, we will pray for our nation and we will pray for all the people whose lives have been lost," the Rev. Peter Jamer Flamming said.

At a morning service in Connecticut, Gov. John Rowland spoke of a priest he knew who died on United Airlines Flight 175 from Boston to Los Angeles, which crashed into the World Trade Center.

Rowland called the Rev. Francis Grogan a friend and mentor, who encouraged the governor to deepen his faith and service his community. If Grogan were still here, he would ask us to be "persuaded by our better natures," Rowland said.

"With the heart of our nation bursting with sadness, we must ask God for the courage to carry on," he said.

At the National Cathedral in Washington, President Bush was to pray at a noon service with former Presidents Clinton, Bush, Carter and Ford, along with members of Congress and cabinet members, who were packing the church by late morning.

"We want people to feel empowered. We want them to feel positive," said Janis Mulhall, an evangelical Christian organizing a memorial in Pleasanton, Calif.

Mulhall has been scouring stores for tiny American flags — buying about 300 so far — and plans to distribute them to everyone who attends.

In proclaiming Friday a national day of prayer and remembrance, Bush urged community groups and places of worships nationwide to hold noontime memorial services, ring bells and set aside time for candlelight vigils. He also encouraged employers to let their workers off to attend.

"All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives," Bush said. "We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith."

In Dallas, people will be asked to hold hands and sing at the Baha'i Center and recite the prayer that a Baha'i leader wrote after he visited the United States in 1912. It asks God to "confirm this revered nation" and "make it precious and near to thee."

"All the members who are moved to say prayers can stand and say prayers," said Kambiz Rafraf, a Baha'i spokesman. The religion focuses on spiritual growth and solving society's ills.

Members of the Islamic Center of Long Island, stunned by the many revenge assaults on Muslim-Americans since Tuesday, will hold the second of three services for victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They also will collect donations for the American Red Cross.

"We're hurting, too, and we're also Americans," said Arshad Majid, a member of the center. "There were Muslim lives lost in that building, as well. We're all human and we need to get together."

Lama Surya Das of the Dzogchen Center, plans a Buddhist service in Cambridge, Mass. The program will include the loving kindness/compassion meditation prayer and the six syllable jewel-in-the-lotus mantra.

"It's in memory of the victims and the sufferings of all and a plea not to perpetuate even more violence," Das said. "It's a plea for restraint, moderation and reason and healing and praying for peace."


©Copyright 2001, Seattle Times

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