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On March 21, to mark the one year anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq, and to renew our commitment to work for peace, Multifaith Voices for Peace and Justice held a “Multifaith Call for Peace” at First Methodist Church in Palo Alto.
Read a report on this service by Ed Ehmke and Leif Erickson.
[Photo courtesy of Penny Barrett]
Report on 'A MULTIFAITH CALL FOR PEACE'
by Ed Ehmke and Leif Erickson
Opening music was provided by the Interfaith Youth Choir and Band, “One Voice,” directed by Karen Salveson of Grace Lutheran Church. This was followed by calls to prayer: the Jewish shofar, an Islamic Call to prayer, a Christian invocation, and Buddhist meditation. A rousing “Down by the Riverside,” welcome by Rev. Doug Monroe of First United Methodist, and opening prayer by Imam Benjamin Ahmad (Muslim) followed. All sang "Love Can Build a Bridge," led by Rev. Isaiah Jones (Covenant Presbyterian Church, PA) which served as prelude to a set of Islamic, Jewish, and Christian readings that stressed the need to approach our lives and our world through love and non-violence.
The voices of our children and youth were an essential part of the whole program. An Interfaith Children's choir (led by Victor Floyd, music director at First Presbyterian Church, PA) sang the moving "Dona Nobis Pacem" with flute accompaniment. Future peacemakers gathered to hear First Congregational Church PA, pastor, Rev. David Howell's "Story of Peace," in which a clueless puppet, Clarence the Camel, is guided through a series of questions on ways we can avoid war if we talk, pray, find common beliefs, and work together. Rabbi Sheldon Lewis offered further reflections on the Torah discussion of reconciliation among adversaries--the gradual process of turning an enemy into a friend. The talented singers and musicians of "One Voice" returned, leading us in a lively call to "Turn the World Around," and singing John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Chris Lundin (St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Parish, PA) led a moving "This Is My Song,” followed by a time of Quaker silence initiated by Eric Sabelman from Palo Alto Friends Meeting. Dr. Amy Lansky (Congregation Kol Emeth) conducted her own composition: "Sing a New Song:" Sing a new song; Sing a Prayer for Peace/Dream a new dream;Let your hatred release/Find a new way, To look at your enemy/Sing a new song, for humanity."
An offering of more than $1400 was received to send medical supplies to hospitals in Iraq through the Middle East Children’s Alliance.
Finally all lit candles and, as witnesses to peace, walked on both sides of University Ave. in a candlelight vigil led by Rabbi Shelly Lewis of Congregation Kol Emeth and Iman Benjamin Ahmad with Ummatel Islam of East Palo Alto.
The inspiring multifaith program included worship leaders from the Jewish, Muslim, Protestant, Catholic, Quaker, and Buddhist traditions.