Vigil service brings faiths together

BY HEATHER MOYER | CAMBRIDGE, MA | September 12, 2001

"We need to continue to be there for one another."

—Marjorie Decker

Church bells were ringing solemnly to greet the almost 300 people who entered First Church Congregational in Cambridge for an evening vigil.

"The Service of Prayer in a Time of Common Grief" brought together 11 ministerial people from many different worship centers in Harvard Square.

The service opened with comments from Cambridge City Councilor Marjorie Decker. Decker remarked that she was glad to see people coming together to help each other. "We need to continue to be there for one another," said Decker. She went on to describe the services offered by the City of Cambridge, saying that if anyone needed anything they should just call.

First Church Pastor Rev. Mary Luti then greeted the attendees. "We welcome you all, no matter your faith affiliation," said Luti. "You are at home and you are safe here."

Luti was noting the presence of several members of various Islamic communities, including a representative from the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) who spoke next.

"As an American Muslim, I cannot describe the shock I felt when I saw the events today," he said. "The religion of Islam is a peaceful religion, and we condemn this act today."

Rev. Thomas Mikelson of the First Parish Church in Harvard Square then addressed those gathered. "There are few times when we are struck so deep in our hearts that we need to gather across religious lines," said Mikelson. "We knew today that we needed to be together."

Mikelson said that we shouldn't forget that children are just as affected as the adults are in times like these, and he then invited the children present up front for a brief talk.

"This has been a day of trauma in the country and we have just begun to experience it," said Mikelson. He encouraged people to contact their pastors and spiritual leaders in these times if needed.

A candle-lighting vigil along with a long moment of silence was then started with the ringing of bells. The attendees were invited to light a candle as symbol of their prayers.

Those in attendance say the service was very helpful in what is just the beginning of a long healing process. Aimee Carevich, a student at Harvard Divinity School said the service helped her cope. "I needed something," she said. "I didn't know what to do with myself after watching everything today."

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