From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
Episcopalians: Churches plan to commemorate first anniversary of September 11 terrorist attacks
Thu, 15 Aug 2002 12:33:51 -0400
August 15, 2002
Episcopalians: Churches plan to commemorate first anniversary
of September 11 terrorist attacks
by James Solheim
(ENS) Churches across the nation are completing plans for
special ways to commemorate the first anniversary of the
September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC)
and the Pentagon.
St. Paul's Chapel, part of New York's Trinity Parish, is a
few blocks from the ground zero site. It miraculously survived
the collapse of the towers, and served as a place of refuge for
the rescue workers. Trinity is arranging a series of church
services and events around the theme, "A Day of Hope and
The chapel will be open to visitors all day and premiere an
exhibition highlighting its eight-month-long ministry to
recovery workers. Trinity will hold a service of morning prayer
at 8am and a choral service at 11am with Archbishop of
Canterbury George L. Carey and Presiding Bishop Frank T.
Griswold. At the service the Lord Mayor of London, Michael
Oliver, will present a commemorative church bell as a symbol of
sympathy from the City of London to the people of New York. The
service will be broadcast live on the BBC.
The bells at St. Paul's and Trinity will ring regularly
during the day, including at 10:29am, the time when the second
tower collapsed. The church's bells will conclude civic
ceremonies at the site.
Other churches in the Diocese of New York will mark the
anniversary with a variety of services, concerts, and tolling of
church bells. At the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and
several parishes the names of the thousands who died will be
read. The diocese is also participating in a multi-media
project, "9/11: A Spiritual Response," in cooperation with the
Church Pension Group, Church Publishing, Trinity Parish and the
New York Historical Society. It will illustrate and analyze the
religious dimensions of the church's response.
Seamen's Church Institute (SCI) has prepared a 10-minute
video, "Witness at Ground Zero," and sent it to Episcopal
parishes throughout the church, "to serve as a focus of
reflection for your congregation, either as part of a church
service, Bible study, or for use during your coffee hour." The
video includes reflections by the presiding bishop during
services at SCI a few days after the attack, focusing on the
lessons for Holy Cross Day.
Tutu at National Cathedral
At Washington National Cathedral a series of events will
begin at 8am with Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa
leading an Interfaith Service of Remembrance that will include
Christian, Muslim and Jewish participants. They will be joined
by Congressional leaders, as well as members of the judiciary
and administrative branches of government and the diplomatic
On the West Coast, St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle is
planning a Week of Remembrance with an emphasis on
"reconciliation, peace, justice and hope," opening its doors at
5:30am on September 11. At St. Paul's Cathedral in San Diego a
7pm service will feature John Rutter's Requiem. A service of
prayer and remembrance will begin at 5:30am at the Cathedral
Center of St. Paul in Los Angeles and the bells will begin at
5:46am, the time when the first plane struck the WTC in New
Many Episcopal churches across the country will join
community-wide ecumenical and interfaith observances. In
Massachusetts a statewide service will include participation by
the Corps of Fire Chaplains, many of whom served for seven weeks
at the site of the WTC. Volunteers at Christ Church Cathedral in
St. Louis will read the names of those killed and the cathedral
will host an interfaith prayer service at noon.
Many resources available
A wide variety of worship resources are available, many of
them ecumenical and easily adapted for use in local parishes.
The office of the bishop for the Armed Services, Healthcare
and Prison Ministries is compiling a list of materials and
websites to support education forums and youth groups.
collation and review, some of these resources will be e-mailed
to all parishes via the new e-mail newsletter of the Episcopal
Church Communication Network," according to Bishop George
Packard. Information from the newsletter will also be available
on the church's web site at
www.episcopalchurch.org/911resources, including a collect
especially written for commemoration of September 11 by
Griswold. The Episcopal Peace Fellowship is offering a Day of
Remembrance Liturgy written by the Rev. David Selzer and
available at www.epfonline.org.
The National Council of Churches (NCC) has encouraged
Christian churches to participate in an Interfaith Hospitality
Project, calling on congregations to "extend an Open House
welcome to neighboring Muslims" in September. "In the days
following the tragic events of last September, the doors of many
houses of worship were opened, as people who were looking for
comfort and meaning sought out places to reflect and to gather
with others to pray," according to the NCC invitation. "During
those days responsible leaders reminded us that it was a group
of Islamist terrorists, and not Islam nor ordinary American
Muslims, that attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon."
The NCC's Interfaith Relations Commission has posted
materials to help congregations considering the open house
project, which may be downloaded and used freely, with credit to
the NCC. A Litany of Remembrance, Penitence and Hope is
Other web sites that might be helpful:
--James Solheim is director of Episcopal News Service.
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