Bahai News - A faith of unity brings people together
A faith of unity brings people together
By JOSEPH DEE
LAWRENCE -- About 100 people gathered at the Rider University Chapel
last night for an interfaith devotional service sponsored by Mercer
County spiritual assemblies of the Baha'i Faith.
A calm and soothing atmosphere was created by participants who took
turns playing musical instruments, including a harp, and reading
passages or prayers from Hindu, Christian, Islamic and Judaic texts.
Tuesday's terrorist bombings were acknowledged by numerous speakers,
including Lawrence Mayor Pam Mount. "It's important at times like this
one to reach out to one another. This will be a defining moment for us,
for our way of life and for our love of diversity. The rubble (of the
World Trade Center towers) will be a foundation for building a community
The Baha'i Faith is an independent religion that counts more than 5
million members worldwide, including about 200 in Mercer County. Its
central principles are the oneness of God, the oneness of religion and
the oneness of humankind. It strives to eradicate prejudices based on
race, class, nationality and gender. It stresses the equality of women
"I came all the way from Willingboro," said Nilda Keene. "I found the
service extremely uplifting and helpful." Keene said she is a Baha'i and
is in the process of moving to the United States from Puerto Rico.
Lawrence resident Anil Sivakumaran, who read a Hindu prayer, said, "The
journey of understanding the causes and effects of what happened Tuesday
will be a lonely one for each of us separately." He translated the
prayer for those gathered, saying it called for unity.
Harpist Anisa Nisin traveled from Ridgewood to participate. "I really
enjoyed how no one clapped (after each brief performance by the
musicians). There was an overlying silence in the room, with all the
beautiful music and readings from all different religions."
The chapel was often quiet enough to hear such sounds of nature as the
chirping of crickets and the occasional quack from a duck in a nearby
"I felt very uplifted. It was so beautiful," Nisin said.
West Windsor resident Klaus Schmeil said he attended because his wife
is a Baha'i. "I like the multicultural backgrounds (of participants) and
the fact that all religions are treated the same. They form a unity."
Schmeil, who labeled himself a Protestant, said, "I'm very much in
favor of the Baha'i concept, actually."
©Copyright 2001, The Times (NJ)
Page last updated/revised 091801
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