Religions Joining For Prayer Day Valley Interfaith Council To Host Newest Local Event
Publication date: 2000-05-04
Arrival time: 2001-02-01
The San Fernando Valley Interfaith Council will hold a National Day of Prayer event for the first time this year with church, synagogue and other religious leaders from throughout the Valley.
The Interfaith Council is encouraging the public to attend the prayer meeting this morning at the Presbyterian Church of Encino to celebrate America's freedom of religion and hear from speakers of various faiths.
"Our focus is to have religious leaders speaking rather than politicians," said council coordinator Bill Downs.
Americans are encouraged to pray for the people and leaders in the nation on National Day of Prayer, established by an act of Congress and President Truman's signature in 1952. Ronald Reagan's administration set the date permanently on the first Thursday of May.
"I think this kind of an event is enormously important," Downs said. "Prayer is important for our community, the nation and the world. I think that all of our prayers can have an impact on the community. We need to love, respect and appreciate our neighbors. . . Prayer and this kind of an event can help change the way people think about their neighbors."
The Valley prayer meeting will include Rabbi Harold Schulweis, from Valley Beth Shalom in Encino; the Rev. Jim Gehl, from St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Church in Canoga Park; and the Rev. Don Shelton, the regional minister for Disciples of Christ. The benediction will be given by Key Darabi, from the Baha'i Center in Encino.
Schulweis said he will speak about a story that he feels deeply about - the Christians who helped save Jews during the Holocaust.
"This is one of the great and unsung stories of our time," Schulweis said. "I don't think many people, either Christians or Jews, know about these people. It's a story that has not been filtering down to the pew."
Schulweis is founder of a Jewish foundation that raises funds to help about 1,600 "righteous Christians" in some 21 countries.
An event such as the Day of Prayer is important for "the solidarity of the community," he said. "It's important to reach out beyond your own faith."
In other events planned for today, former presidential candidate Alan Keyes was scheduled to speak at a breakfast at Shepherd of the Hills in Porter Ranch. Only those who purchased tickets in advance can attend the event in Porter Ranch.
The Church on the Way in Van Nuys is participating in the live broadcast "Concert of Prayer," via satellite from 5 to 8 p.m. The program can also be heard on the church's radio station, KTLW-FM (91.1 and 91.9).
©Copyright 2001, Los Angeles Daily News