NEW YORK – Stemming from the success of last year's Unity Walk in Washington, D.C., involving leaders from all faiths who commemorated the 9/11 anniversary, Unity Walk will expand to New York City this year and has prompted interest among nations worldwide.
Over 1,500 people participated in a procession that sent a "dramatic message" of unity to the world. This year, big name faith leaders such as Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, renowned scholar on contemporary Islam; the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of Governmental Affairs at the National Association of Evangelicals; and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, former representative of the Vatican, will join to recall the spirit of unity that grew out of 9/11.
Today, well over half of New Yorkers and Washingtonians are worried of another terrorist attack, according to an AP-Ipsos poll. Commercial aircraft and bits of the United Airlines Flight 93 in-flight magazine are being discovered in a wreckage that had left only a smoking crater five years ago.
As the nation comes to the remembrance of the nearly 3,000 people that were killed in the terrorist attacks, Christians, Evangelicals, Muslims and Jews plan to speak on Embassy Row in the nation's capital and walk three miles in New York from Union Square Park to the World Trade Center site at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church on Sept. 10 and 11, respectively.
More interfaith leaders will gather for a prayer luncheon on Capitol Hill with Imam Mohamed Majid from the All Dulles Areas Muslim Society, the Rev. George Rados from Saints Peter and Paul Orthodox Church, Rabbi David Saperstein from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Bishop Jane Holmes Dixon of The Interfaith Alliance. The luncheon is part of a National Leadership Conference organized by the Arab American Institute.
Religious leaders had commented that the 9/11 attacks were reflective of an "international clash," as the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral Ministries, described it. Dr. Douglas Culver, chair of Old Testament at Erskine Theological Seminary said the clash was "nothing new" but a "deep and wide difference" between two different sets of people that has existed for centuries.
Nearing the anniversary, the Rev. Stephen P. Bouman, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Metropolitan New York Synod, commented, "This is a very significant time for us in New York. It's a reminder of what happened on that awful day, as well as a testament to the work of God through individuals and programs..."
Lutherans will also be marking the anniversary through worship and special remembrances throughout the church, including a service held at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.