Wednesday, September 12, 2001

America Attacked

Religious groups pray
for peaceful resolution

Churches open their doors to
all to help heal through prayer

By Mary Adamski

After a day of witnessing the unfolding national tragedy, hundreds of islanders turned off the television and turned to prayer.

Churches and temples opened their doors for personal visits and prayer vigils and services.

Speakers at an ecumenical service last night at Kawaiahao Church spoke against a vengeful response to the attacks.

"Help us seek justice that is more than retribution, where poverty is lifted," said the Rev. David Hirano. "Help us to reach across divides that separate us ... to other religions who seek peace."

People of the world "must commit ourselves to the hard work, the creative work of bringing about justice and peace," Kawaiahao pastor James Fung told the crowd of about 100, which included Honolulu Mayor Jeremy Harris.

In a prayer for the families of victims, the Rev. Joseph Grimaldi, vicar general of the Catholic diocese, said, "We are members of the American family, part of which has been shattered."

No one spoke when Harris United Methodist Church pastor Gary Barbaree invited attendees to share their thoughts at an afternoon service yesterday. But everyone expressed themselves in notes pinned to a screen in the sanctuary.

"Overwhelming sadness." "Scared." "Let there be no prejudice against each other," they wrote. "Why do we hate one another, why?"

"Worry for my Marie," wrote a woman whose daughter is in the Army.

Harold Onishi became teary as he repeated Christ's call: "'Forgive them, for they know not what they do.' What can we do but forgive them?"

Masato Inaba said his daughter lives and works in Manhattan.

"She called; she's OK. I asked her to come home," he said.

"I cannot articulate my feelings," Diane Matsuura said. "It was just comforting to come."

Barbaree led the gathering of 25 people as they read a lamentation of Old Testament prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed the destruction of his people: "I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me."

They sang, "There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole."

New Hope Christian Fellowship executive pastor Elwin Ahu said: "God doesn't allow this kind of thing to happen. Man has a choice. Man directs what he's going to do, but the power of God and the strength of his love even goes beyond that."

The New Hope sanctuary at 290 Sand Island Access Road was open all day for individual prayer and counseling. Ahu said it would remain open overnight for use by the American Red Cross service and local emergency service personnel.

The practice of their faith saved some Jewish workers, said Rabbi Itchel Krasnjansky of Chabad Lubavitch of Hawaii, who is from Brooklyn and sought throughout the day to learn the fate of acquaintances who worked in the World Trade Center.

"People we know were saved by the fact they didn't go to work before 9 a.m. In this week before the New Year, holy days begin. Traditional Jews attend special prayer sessions each morning so a lot of people come to work a little late."

Krasnjansky said he heard about a friend who was approaching the World Trade Center towers for work and saw the first aircraft crash into his workplace.


Services and prayer vigils were held in several island churches last night. More are planned.


>> 4 p.m. Harris United Methodist Church, 20 S. Vineyard Boulevard.
>> 5 p.m. Central Union Church, 1660 S. Beretania St., the Rev. Ted Robinson presiding.
>> 6 p.m. Honolulu Church of Light, 1539 Kapiolani Blvd.
>> 6:30 p.m. Honolua United Methodist Church, Maui.
>> 7 p.m. Mass for Peace, Co-Cathedral of St. Theresa, 712 N. School St. Bishop Joseph A. Ferrario, presider.
>> 7 p.m. Parker United Methodist Church, 45-211 Waikalua Road, Kaneohe.
>> 7 p.m. Christ United Methodist Church, 1639 Keeaumoku St., Korean-language service.
>> 7 p.m. Aiea Korean United Methodist Church, 99-101 Laulima St., Korean-language service.
>> 7 p.m. First Tongan United Methodist Church, 41-510 Flamingo St., Waimanalo, Tongan-language service.
>> 7:30 p.m. Chabad Lubavitch of Hawaii gathering on 6th floor, Sunrise Towers, 419 Atkinson Drive.
>> 7:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, 1822 Keeaumoku St.
>> 7:30 p.m. Kaimuki Christian Church, 1117 Koko Head Ave.
>> 7:30 p.m. Kaimuki Evangelical Church, 1419 10th Ave.


>> 12:30 p.m. Interfaith service, Nuuanu Congregational Church, 2651 Pali Highway.
>> 6 p.m. Interfaith service, Kauai Community College Performing Arts Building, Lihue.
>> 9 p.m. Aiea Korean United Methodist Church, 99-101 Laulima St., Korean-language service.

George F. Lee /
Marsha Joyner, left, hugged Frian Orian on the grounds of Iolani Palace last night during a candlelight vigil held in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist attacks yesterday at the New York World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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