Interfaith Prayer Held in Response to Abuse of Iraqi Prisoners and Beheading of American Soldier

( [email protected] ) May 14, 2004 08:04 AM EDT

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Approximately hundred people along with religious leaders representing different faiths – Christian, Jewish, and Muslim – gathered for an interfaith prayer service at the First Baptist Church in America Thursday night calling for peaceful resolutions in response to the recent abuse of prisoners in Iraq and beheading of an American civilian.

During the service, each attendee was given a rock and was asked to decide what they want to do with the rock. After listening to one of the ministers who said each act of evil is carried out with the rock but what to do with the rock is their own choice, everyone deposited their rocks in two baskets.

Rev. John Holt, executive minister of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches who organized the event said the abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison and the decapitation of Nicholas Berg have affected everyone.

The organizers of the service also released a statement signed by 48 local clerics, that read in part: "We recognize that we stand at a crossroads. One path returns to the values and principles that have served us so well in the past. The other embraces the ethic that the end justifies any means. As a nation we are responsible for making this choice wisely."

Rev. Matthew Kai, executive minister of the Ministers Alliance of Rhode Island, shared the story of his home country Liberia that suffered from violence for 23 years because of ongoing civil war

"We felt hopeless and helpless but we found hope in the God who created us and after 23 years we found peace," said Kai.