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9/11 interfaith service to be held next weekend at Ebster Pavillion


9/11 interfaith service to be held next weekend at Ebster Pavillion

Reverend Paul M. Turner, Pastor James Brewer Calvert, and Reverend Diane Dougherty speak in front of First Christian Church of Decatur on Sunday, February 21. Photo by Alex Brown

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — First Christian Church of Decatur, and representatives from a variety of faith traditions, is hosting an interfaith service on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 11 a.m. at the Ebster Pavilion, outdoors at West Trinity Place and Electric Avenue. The service will honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Masks are required.  Social distancing at the site is possible and encouraged.  Hand sanitizers and extra masks will be available.

The event will be held in person and can also be viewed via Facebook Live.

The interfaith service has always been planned by a team of representatives from a variety of faiths, including Jews, Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Sikhs, Buddhists, Native Americans and more, said the Rev. Dr. James Brewer-Calvert, senior pastor at First Christian Church of Decatur.

“First Christian Church of Decatur is honored to play a part in coordinating and facilitating the service. We are one among many fine communities of faith in our city that participate” Brewer-Calvert said. 
The service was first hosted by First Christian Church of Decatur on September 11, 2002.  The sanctuary was filled with 250 people from all walks of life who came to grieve, remember and seek the ways of peace and reconciliation, he said. 
“Since then the interfaith service has been held in larger venues that are “common ground” so as to not be affiliated or identified with any one religion.  The City of Decatur also came on board as a partner in the process and hosting,” Brewer-Calvert said. “Subsequent services were held in 2006, 2011, and 2016, with each one drawing around 500 people. 2021 is the 20th anniversary.”  
The year the theme is turning towards each other.
“Our prayer is that we will grow as neighbors to trust and depend on one another,” Brewer-Calvert said. “May we peacefully gather on Sept. 11 at 11 a.m. to remember our tragic losses, the courageous acts of our heroes, and that the violence and evil of 9/11 do not get the final word. We choose to focus on bridge-building and our collective need for each other.”
The city of Decatur Police and Fire Departments will be at the service to honor the country’s fallen heroes.    
“When four jets were intentionally crashed, killing 3,000 innocent lives, people from all walks of life died; many heroes sacrificed their lives going in, so people might get out and be safe,” Brewer-Calvert said. “We will also have representatives of many religious and non-religious bodies of people to help us lift up the memories of those killed, as well was to guide us toward the ways of reconciliation and hope.”  
The program will also include musical anthems by Elias Benn from St. Thomas More Catholic Church and the Indra Thomas.

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