Praying for a peaceful solution
Speakers gave readings from a variety of religious sources, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, American Indian beliefs and Baha'i, which celebrates the belief that all religions came from one God and were created at different times to address particular needs in human evolution.
''It's a way of bringing people together so that we know each other better and grow as a community and experience the power of prayer,'' said Lori Dawson, who is one of five members on the alliance's steering committee.
Marianne Finnegan read ''The Second Coming,'' a poem by William Butler Yeats about a new cycle of history rising from the chaos of an ending one. She said Yeats wrote it after World War I and the Russian Revolution, as he was witnessing the rise of fascism.
''Strangely enough, it's still very appropriate today,'' she said.
People sang along to songs advocating peace, including John Lennon's ''Imagine,'' and took part in a prayer service in which the Rev. Linda Hoddy asked individuals what they personally would be willing to do in the name of peace.
''Prayer can bring us comfort, but prayer is not enough. Peace is more than the absence of war,'' she said. ''Each of us is called in some ways to create peace in our hearts and communities.''
Several in attendance got up to light a candle and announce at the podium individual ways to try and create peace. One man said he was going to send the president a letter filled with a cup of rice and a statement that reads: ''Feed Thine Enemy.''
Trish Cassady, a teacher who lives in Schenectady, said she was going to try and find it in her heart to forgive and work with a student who called a disabled student who spent life in a wheelchair ''a freak.''
Cassady said she was unable to go with friends to recent peace vigils in Washington, D.C., but wanted to get involved with some kind of larger peace effort. ''It (the prospect of war) is very scary,'' she said.
©Copyright 2003, The Saratogian (NY, USA)
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