Brethren Witness/Washington Office: Use This Anniversary as Opportunity for Unity and Hope

Sept. 11 worship resources for Brethren congregations are available at the “Way of Peace” website at Although the resources were collected and posted for previous year’s 9/11 remembrances, they are still fresh and helpful for Brethren who are seeking to remember and keep in prayer the Sept. 11 events.

A Brethren pastor who served as one of the chaplains at the World Trade Center site following the 9/11 attack gives a newspaper interview. See below for links.

The Brethren Witness/Washington Office has extended an invitation to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington by remembering 100 years of Gandhian nonviolence. Coincidentally, today also is the 100th anniversary of the start of Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent work.

The office called on Brethren to take the opportunity to celebrate “interfaith unity and hope on a day often recognized for revenge and despair,” in a recent Action Alert.

Brethren Witness/Washington Office director Phil Jones is taking part today in a 9/11/06 Unity Walk in New York City sponsored by Religions for Peace-USA, an interfaith nonprofit organization that works to foster religious communities working together to build a society of peace and justice. The walk is co-sponsored by 911 Unity Walk, a grassroots interfaith movement that creates ways for people of all faiths or of no faith tradition to walk together in a transformative remembrance of 9/11.

The Church of the Brethren is an active member of Religions for Peace-USA; Jones recently returned from an international conference in Japan held by the parent organization, the VIIIth Assembly of Religions for Peace, held in Kyoto on Aug. 26-29.

The New York City Unity Walk is set to convene at 5 p.m. this evening beginning at the Union Square Park Gandhi Memorial. Participants will walk three miles to the World Trade Center site, stopping for music and prayer at diverse houses of worship along the way–among others the Eldridge Street Project, a historic Jewish temple; Mahayanna Buddhist Temple; Nur Ashki Jerrahi Sufi Order, a mosque; and a closing ceremony at St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church.

From the World Trade Center site, participants are encouraged to join the New York Buddhist Church on Pier 40 for a 9/11 Memorial Floating Lantern Ceremony in the Hudson River, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Scheduled speakers and performers include Salman Ahmad, a Pakistani rock musician and UN Goodwill Ambassador; Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, president of the Jewish Life Network; Imam Mahdi Bray, executive director of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation; Zainab Al-Suwaij, co-founder and executive director of the American Islamic Congress; Preeta Bansal, commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom; Chloe Breyer, board member of Episcopalians for Global Reconciliation; and Bud Heckman, executive director of Religions for Peace-USA.

“If you are not able to participate in New York you are encouraged to plan or participate in local events that prayerfully remember the violence of 9/11 and our response as global citizens of peace. Please contact our office with reports of such events,” said the alert from the Brethren Witness/Washington Office.

For more about the unity walk in New York go to For more about the Brethren Witness/Washington Office, a ministry of the Church of the Brethren General Board, go to



Resources collected and posted for previous anniversaries of 9/11 are still appropriate and useful to Brethren congregations today. Worship resources, scriptures, prayers, and hymn suggestions are among the resources that have been collected for past anniversary commemorations, and are available online at the “Way of Peace” website

Among the worship resources available at the site are prayer services, services of remembrance, prayers, litanies, children’s stories, and suggested hymns. The site also offers Messenger magazine articles from Oct. and Nov. 2001, peace resources including sermons and ecumenical statements, and a resource giving advice to parents to help children cope with the news of terrorism and war in the media.



Pastor Bob Johnson of Blue Ridge Chapel Church of the Brethren in Waynesboro, Va., spoke to the News Leader newspaper in Staunton, Va., about his experience as one of the chaplains at Ground Zero in New York.

As a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, the group that volunteered their services after the attack, he was among about 70 other chaplains who ministered at the World Trade Center site. He worked two tours of duty after the 9/11 attack.

Following are descriptions of the articles about Johnson’s work, and links to read more:

“Emotion of 9/11 lingers with chaplain,” News Leader, Staunton, Va.
“Bob Johnson saw tears at Ground Zero,” reports the News Leader of Staunton, Va. “He still remembers the decay, the sorrow and the grace.” Go to

“In tragedy, the human spirit prevails,” News Leader, Staunton, Va.
“When the Rev. Bob Johnson thinks of Sept. 11, he sees devastation, despair, and hope,” reports the News Leader in a follow up article about the Blue Ridge Chapel pastor. Go to

The Church of the Brethren Newsline is produced by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren General Board. Newsline stories may be reprinted if Newsline is cited as the source. To receive Newsline by e-mail go to Submit news to the editor at For more Church of the Brethren news and features, subscribe to “Messenger” magazine; call 800-323-8039 ext. 247.