Bahai News - Americans plan vigils, prayer services after Bush proclaims

Americans plan vigils, prayer services after Bush proclaims

NEW YORK (AP) -- Chapel doors of the First Baptist Church in Richmond, Virginia, opened for prayers and solace at dawn 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,'' Rev. Peter Jamer Flamming said.

At the Dallas Baha'i Center, they will recite a ``Prayer for America.''i On the corner of Valley and Hopyard Avenues in Pleasanton, California, they will wave flags and sing ``God Bless America.''

At the Islamic Center of Long Island, New York, they will say prayers for the dead and missing.

``We want people to feel empowered. We want them to feel positive,'' said Janis Mulhall, an evangelical Christian organizing the memorial in Pleasanton.

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, President George W. 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, with roots in Iran, focuses on spiritual growth and solving society's ills.

Members of the Islamic Center on 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.''

While Bush prays at the National Cathedral in Washington on Friday, Lama Surya Das of the Dzogchen Center, plans a Buddhist service in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 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.''

The Associated Press News Service

©Copyright 2001, Associated Press

Top 19 Baha'i Sites Page last updated/revised 091401
Return to the Bahá'í Association's Main Web Page