By the Rev. Dr. Jim Antal
Minister and President
Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ
The 10th anniversary of 9-11 is fast approaching. Our collective, pain-filled memories present all faith leaders with a crucial opportunity to advance a vision in which such a tragedy will never again happen. Because the anniversary falls on a Sunday, it is also an opportunity to honor both “homecoming Sunday” and the need for reconciliation among peoples, cultures, and religions.
For some time, your Commission on Ecumenism and Interfaith Relations has been stocking the MACUCC website with resources you can access to support you in 9/11 Sunday worship, bible studies, community commemorations, letters to the editor and any way you may consider giving witness on this powerful anniversary. Click herewww.macucc.org/sept11) to explore: There you will find:
- Reflections on the 9/11/11 Lectionary Readings
- Sermons on interfaith relationship and non-violence
- Rrayers and hymns appropriate to interfaith commemoration
- Books on Islam and other faiths
- Online resources for interfaith understanding
- Films on topics of reconciliation and interfaith relations
The Conference is also inviting churches to post what they or their communities are planning to do on the Conference website's 9/11 Commemoration Page, so that information can be shared with the rest of the Conference.
The Commission is urging our churches to be active in leading local events. We want to help foster relationship-building and education at the local level, as this is where ecumenical and interfaith work changes lives.
ALSO: UCC leaders have played a key role in planning the Massachusetts Remembers interfaith event on the Hatch Shell in Boston, 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept 11th. Governor Patrick will be attending. WCVB TV5 is on as official TV media sponsor. We hope WBUR-Radio will broadcast this event.
Here is a YouTube Video Link about the event: (41 seconds): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP6PhC0nXxA&t=0m5s
The event has also has a Facebook Page.
Five years ago, on the 5th anniversary of 9-11, I closed my email with the following words. They still ring true today. May the God of many names bless you and your congregation as you create opportunities to advance reconciliation and understanding in our deeply divided world.
[Ten] years after 9-11 our world continues to be shaped by those who highlight only the conflicts represented in diverse religious perspectives. Now more than ever we must deepen our understanding of Muslims, Jews, and people from other faith traditions, and witness to the world the shared principles of peace, justice and unity that are central teachings of our scriptures and traditions.