Fifteen years ago, a horrific act of violence changed the world for all of us. This year on September 11, the sixth annual 9/11 Interfaith Peace Walk will remind us again that the world is still changing, and we can all take steps to ensure that it changes for the better.
The walk will begin at 7pm on Sunday, September 11, in front of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on University Terrace, and will end with a candlelight vigil and song at the Islamic Center on Stewart Street. In between, it will thread through the OU campus and uptown Athens, passing many of the faith communities that co-sponsor the walk. As in past years, co-sponsoring faith communities and organizations are bringing some candles to share at the end of the walk, but participants are encouraged to bring candles to the vigil if they have them. People with mobility concerns who wish to participate in the walk should contact UCM.
This year, for the first time, the Peace Walk will be preceded by an interfaith prayer service at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. The service will begin at 6:15 p.m. in the church, and will end before the start time of the Peace Walk. The Reverend Deborah Woolsey, priest-in-charge at Good Shepherd, hopes the service will offer people of all faiths an opportunity to worship together and reflect on the shared value of peace. “We’re inviting faith communities to share with us a prayer from their tradition, to participate in the service by leading their prayer, and we’re inviting singers to come together in an interfaith choir for the event,” she said. (To participate in the prayer service and/or the choir, contact Rev. Woolsey at the church, 740-593-6877.)
Co-sponsors of this year's Peace Walk include Better Together at Ohio University, a student movement to engage people of all faith traditions and philosophical and ethical orientations in action for the common good as a means of building community and trust across religious divisions. “Especially during this election year, with all the inflamed rhetoric and fear, we need to create opportunities for people to gather, meet one another, and act on beliefs they share,” said Better Together Campaign co-coordinator Kelsey Gerard, an OU junior.
Gerard says the march also marks the start of this year's Better Together campaign at Ohio University. This year's Better Together campaign will also include a watershed cleanup on October 23 and other program and fundraising efforts currently in the planning stages. Students interested in working on the campaign should "like" the Better Together at Ohio University Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected.
Other cosponsors include the Muslim Student Association, First United Methodist Church, International Student Union, Hillel at Ohio University, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Athens, Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors, Christ Lutheran Church, Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Ohio University LGBT Center, and Athens First Presbyterian Church.
For more information on the Peace Walk and other upcoming interfaith events, email Rev. Evan Young, Campus Minister at United Campus Ministry, at email@example.com.