Interfaith Service Emphasizes Hope for Humanity
The First Church of Christ in Woodbridge last week opened its doors for people of all faiths to come together and pray for the victims and families of the slain in a church mass shooting in Texas. The Sunday before, a man had entered a small-town church in Sutherland Springs, Tex., during services, and shot and killed more than two dozen people.
In Woodbridge, some 30 people or so came together for the interfaith service of remembrance and hope, which was led by Rev. Shepard Parsons of First Church, Rev. Myles Ahrens of Trinity Evangelical Free Church and Rabbi Rona Shapiro of Congregation B’Nai Jacob. Rev. Parsons recalled that in protestant tradition, the church often was referred to as “the meetinghouse,” where people congregated not only to pray, but to settle the issues of the day. In addition, when there was a crisis people came together at the meetinghouse to console each other. “It is in that tradition that we come together today to honor those who have died, and to praise God,” he said.
As for the prayers from those in the pews, their hearts were with the victims and their families, they prayed for the medical community dealing with the fallout; and for leaders of this country who will consider how to prevent future gun violence. B’Nai Jacob’s Cantor, Malachi Kanfer, offered a song, “Olam Chesed Yibaneh,” a song that promises the world will be built from love. They lit battery-operated candles and kept a moment of silence.
Clergy emphasized the aspect of hope. “I believe that we as religious people are the keepers of hope,” said Rabbi Shapiro in her remarks, encouraging people to “not give despair a seat at the table”.
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town Correspondent
- B’Nai Jacob’s Cantor, Malachi Kanfer, offered a hopeful song at a recent interfaith service in Woodbridge
- The Woodbridge clergy jointly offered an interfaith remembrance service for the victims of gun violence after the recent Texas mass shooting