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Interfaith Service At ESA Draws Thousands

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RALEIGH — Thousands of people gathered in Raleigh Sunday to pray for peace and unity, here in the Triangle and across the country. The interfaith service was dedicated in memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11.

Many of the people who attended did not look alike or dress alike, but they are all Americans, and during this worship service, they all shared the same purpose.

"How many of us now are looking at a Hindu person or a Jewish person a whole new way. I know I am, and I think everybody is seeing the need to understand people we've never tried to understand before," said organizer Theresa Kostrzewa.

Religious leaders from the Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim faiths led crowd in music and prayer. For many, the service offered a window into cultures they had never been exposed to. Organizers and participants hope the newfound unity will prevent the hatred that gave us Sept. 11.

"I think this is a time for healing. We need to come together, share each other's beliefs so everybody can realize we're all human, we all believe in the same thing. It's time for world peace," said Ivan Massenburg.

Organizers made another show of unity at the prayer service by committing all of their support to one relief organization. Any money raised today will be donated to the American Red Cross.


Stephanie Hawco, Reporter
Ron Pittman, Photographer

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