Bahai News - Interdenominational service Wednesday at St. Michael's

Interdenominational service Wednesday at St. Michael's

By COLLEEN MARSHALL/ West Hawaii Today

Giving thanks and uniting as a community is the key behind a worship service now in its third year.

Event planners said what began as a way to bring together followers of different faiths has become an anticipated event that hundreds attend.

This year's interdenominational service is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Michael's Catholic Church on Alii Drive.

Earl Kernahan, who serves as an organizer for the annual event, said the program was first hosted at the church and last year traveled mauka to Kona Hongwanji Mission in Kealakekua.

The program includes a medley of prayers, greetings and hymns with representatives from the Buddhist, Jewish, Protestant, Bahai and Catholic faith communities.

Kernahan said this year's service has taken on greater significance in wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"This year in particular is so important because more people are thinking more about religion," Kernahan said.

"Last year, when it was held at the Kona Hongwanji Mission, people were astonished. They had never been in a Buddhist temple before," Kernahan said. "It's a simple thing, but it is a means of bringing people together."

The retired pastor was first involved in an interdenominational service more than 40 years ago in California and brought the idea with him when he relocated to the Big Island.

"The United States has become a nation of diverse peoples with freedom to follow faiths from all over the world," Kernahan said.

"Whenever we give thanks for each other, our communities come together," he said. "Whenever we give thanks for each other, our country comes together."

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