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Service for children brings faiths together

By Mark Barrett, STAFF WRITER

Posted: 10-22-01 01:30

ASHEVILLE - About 175 area residents sang, prayed, clapped, meditated and listened at an Interfaith Children's Service Sunday afternoon sponsored by the advocacy group Children First.

The service at Stephens-Lee Community Center near downtown included representatives of Buddhism, Bahaism, Judaism, American Indian beliefs and several Christian denominations.

Concern for children represents "common ground" for different religions and those attending Sunday, said the Rev. L.C. Ray. of Greater New Zion Baptist Church.

"We all love our children and we all want the best for them as they go through this life," Ray told the crowd.

"Let us leave from here and join hands together and say we are going to continue to make a difference in a child's life," Ray said.

The service is cause for optimism, said Lynn Rosser, who represented the local Bahai community in the service and who is pregnant.

"It makes a difference to see all of the representatives of all of the religions and know that there’s a future that does hold hope," Rosser said.

The service is an annual event for Children First, which advocates for and provides services to children. Several organizations which provide services benefiting children had booths set up for those attending to visit after the service in what Children First called a "children’s advocacy fair."

The service was quiet at times and loud at others.

Buddhist Robert Wootton at one point gently encouraged the audience to meditate on keeping children "happy, healthy, safe and free from suffering."

The Hill Street Missionary Baptist Church High Steppers had some attendants clapping along as they twisted, hopped, clapped and chanted during a dance.

"I wish I had that much energy," Ray said after the youth group performed.

Contact Barrett at 232-5833 or


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