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Program focuses on world peace

By Roy Wood, Post staff reporter

As Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah faction called for more violence in the West Bank, and the Philippine government warned of more terrorist attacks there, Greater Cincinnati's religious and community leaders gathered in Newport Sunday to pray for world peace.

About 600 people, including representatives from nine world religions, turned out for the Second Annual Interfaith Celebration of World Peace.

The 2 1/2-hour service at the Syndicate was capped by the ringing of the World Peace Bell across Fifth Street.

The afternoon's program was to offer "a moment of reflection... an opportunity for celebration," said Cynthia Goodman, whose Millennium Monument Center World Peace Bell organization, along with the National Conference for Community and Justice, put together the event.

Participants wore everything from turbans and robes to Native American headbands and shawls. The Native American, Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jain, Jewish and Sikh traditions were represented.

The arrangement of singing, dancing, chanting and instrumentals was meant to make "a moving and hopeful statement," Ms. Goodman said.

Mahatma Gandhi came up several times during the service.

Xavier University theologian Brennan Hill noted, for example, that Gandhi believed that each of the world's religions "has some unique insight into God."

"We all believe in the sacredness of our creation," he said. "We all believe in human dignity. We all value love, compassion, forgiveness and freedom. And yet in the name of our religion, throughout history there have been so many oppressions, slaveries and holocausts and atrocities that are still going on today."

The New Year's Eve peace celebrations were part of the plan when Fort Thomas businessman Wayne Carlisle commissioned the 66,000-pound Peace Bell's construction.

©Copyright 2001, The Kentucky Post

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