Praying for Peace

Wednesday night I prayed at the Westbury Friends meeting house with people from thirteen different religions, including one group I have never been in a service with before—Zoroastrianism.  This was the “Interfaith Witness for Peace in a 9/11 World.” The service was held on the United Nation’s International Day of Peace and was organized by the Long Island Council of Churches and the Long Island Multi-Faith Forum.

The prayer service was, in one sense, a commemoration of a similar service we held after the 9/11 attacks. At that time the Multi-Faith Forum was only a few years old and most of us were still getting to know each other. Now, after ten years, the forum has evolved and there were some people there I had not seen in several years and the reception following the service was a time to catch-up with old friends.

Crises, like the terrorist attacks, are often a catalyst to bring people of good will together to work to build a new kind of world. Unfortunately, over time we often lose our initial enthusiasm and the work does not get done. It is very hard to continue to do good work for a difficult goal over the long haul.

This is one reason I am so impressed with the Multi-Faith Forum. This group has continued to hold before us the dream of a world in which all the world’s religions respect one another and we all work to create a peaceful planet. The Forum has members from thirteen different religions—all found on Long Island. This makes us the most diverse suburban area in the United States and one of the most diverse in the world. This diversity is one of our strengths and a fact to be celebrated.

One consistent difficulty for the forum has been Christian participation. As the dominant religion, we Christians often take this for granted and do not see how important it is to have us present for LIMFF educational programs and prayer services. The Forum is always looking for new volunteers to help present at their Building Bridges programs that are held at high schools and for community groups. More and more high schools are asking the forum to lead diversity day presentations on Long Island Religion. No experience is necessary, training is provided. Call or email me if you are interested.

I am proud that our church has been an active and consistent supporter of the LIMFF since its conception in our conference room. Our members know that the peace we seek will only come by reaching outside our doors and forming relationships with people of all faiths, and no faith. May be continue building bridges of understanding so that we may create a more just and peaceful world.


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