Spiritual leaders begin the healing

By Marcie Miller

Herald Writer

EVERETT — About 60 people gathered at Greater Trinity Missionary Baptist Church Tuesday night to pray — for all those affected by the deadly terrorist attacks — and all those left to cope with the aftermath.

Pastor Paul A. Stoot Sr. held the prayer service outside to show the community its unity in working and praying together.

"We’re a diverse congregation," he said. "I wanted to show a demonstration of us being inclusive of all. The fabric of our community needs to be strengthened rather than blown apart."

He challenged community leaders to do something this week to start the healing process.

Members of the congregation pledged allegiance to the flag, sang patriotic songs, and formed a human prayer circle to pray for each other and all those involved in or affected by the attacks.

Prayer vigil

A prayer vigil walk will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and throughout the rest of the week at Trinity Episcopal Church, 2301 Hoyt Ave. in Everett. The labyrinth is a canvas walking path for spiritual meditation and prayer, used at some of Trinity’s seasonal services.

For more information, call the church at 425-252-4129.

Religious organizations around Snohomish County reacted in unison Tuesday to the events unfolding on the East Coast "Each person’s life is worth a whole world," Rabbi Harley Karz-Wagman of Everett said, citing a Jewish sentiment.

"Each death is a horrific thing," he said. "We have to mourn and respect every death."

At the Temple Beth Or in Everett, Karz-Wagman was shaken on a personal level by the events unfolding Tuesday morning on the East Coast, as well as feeling concern for his congregation.

He had been trying all morning to reach a friend who works in the World Trade Center in New York. No phone calls were going through.

Karz-Wagman was also concerned that people not jump to conclusions and condemn all Arabs as terrorists, an easy target in the race to lay blame.

"My first reaction was not to stereotype Arabs, and not assume this was the act of Arab or Islamic militants," he said.

As a Jew, Karz-Wagman said his people have been blamed for centuries for things they were not responsible for, and doesn’t want the same thing to happen to Arabs and Muslims.

Karz-Wagman said while the Temple Beth Or is not planning any gatherings specifically to address the attacks and the aftermath, they will be stepping up security surrounding Rosh Hashana events, the Jewish new year holiday that starts at sundown today.

Calls to Islamic Centers in Snohomish County Tuesday went unanswered.

The American Muslim Political Coordination Council in Washington, D.C., released a statement condemning the attacks, saying, "American Muslims utterly condemn what are apparently vicious and cowardly acts of terrorism against innocent citizens," and, "No political cause could ever be assisted by such immoral acts."

Close to 50 people, twice the normal amount, attended the 9 a.m. Mass at the Church of Saint Cecilia’s in Stanwood Tuesday. They came to seek solace, and perhaps try to make sense out of what they had heard on the morning news.

A Caremelite Order priest, the Rev. Dave Centner, gave a special votive Mass, reserved for times of war and civil disturbance.

Centner spoke of the need to pray for the victims of violence, and for the perpetrators. He quoted Pope Paul VI: "If you want peace, you have to work for justice."

The Rev. Colm Stone said, "While we enjoy peace, so many people don’t."

He urged people to let go of the violence in their lives and welcome peace in the world.

Stone said the Mass ended with the congregation singing "God Bless America."

At Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic church in Everett, receptionist Charlotte McCoy said Tuesday’s morning Mass went on as usual while the tragedy was unfolding. Attendance at that Mass was about normal, but she expected more people at the regular Tuesday night Mass at 6 p.m.

At the Avodah Yeshiva Fellowship, a messianic Judaism organization in Lynnwood, secretary Fern Carlson was remaining calm.

When she heard the news, she sent out an e-mail to the mostly gentile congregation, telling them there was no reason to panic, as the situation was in God’s hands. She included a biblical quote: "He is in perfect peace whose mind staid on thee."

She said the Bible talks of events such as these coming to pass as part of the last days of Earth.

"It’s been the last days since the New Testament was written," she said.

She also noted the date: 9/11. "I think it’s sort of an emergency call, don’t you think?"

Reporter Cathy Logg contributed to this story.

You can call Herald Writer Marcie Miller at 425-339-3292

or send e-mail to mmiller@heraldnet.com.

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