Thursday, September 12, 2002
Believers take comfort in Sept. 11 interfaith service honoring attack victims
Special to the Bulletin
NORWICH -- Hundreds of eastern Connecticut residents of various religious denominations attended an interfaith prayer service Wednesday at Park Congregational Church.
Organized by Christian and Jewish clergy, the collaboration of faiths was seen by many worshippers as a symbol of coming together after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Jews, Muslims and members of the Baha'i religion represented each of their denominations at the service. A similar interfaith event commemorating Sept. 11 was held last year at Yankee Stadium in New York shortly after the attacks took place.
The Rev. Sidat Balgobin, pastor of Park Congregational, welcomed the worshippers.
"Tonight we discover something. We discovered that we are interconnected with all of creation and of cultures different from us," he said. "We remember that are all human beings convened with one image."
The Rev. James Eaton of the United Congregational Church, said the service was dedicated to remembering the lives and gifts of all the victims of violence who perished a year ago. Eaton said the entire nation has suffered from a yearlong restless sleep because of a long-lying nightmare.
"We have fallen into a deep darkness for a very long time, and with all of our faiths and all of our gifts we can find the strength to overcome this tragedy," Eaton said.
The Rev. Anthony Rosaforte of the Cathedral of St. Patrick said the complications and political ramifications of the attacks are immense, and have immersed an entire country. He quoted the elementary school saying "Stop, look, and listen" frequently throughout his prayer.
"This country almost came to a full stop after the fateful events of Sept. 11, and suddenly there were more important things to this country than the stock market or financial situations," Rosaforte said. "We stopped by gathering around television sets, lighting candles, making mementos and building makeshift shrines in impromptu places to support and honor our loved ones. We stopped, we looked and we listened."
In all, leaders of 13 congregations throughout the city participated in the remembrance service. The service concluded with the singing of "America the Beautiful."
The participants also organized a candlelight vigil immediately after the service to honor the victims of Sept. 11.
©Copyright 2002, Norwich Bulletin