Local News

Triangle Goes Soul Searching In Wake of Attacks

Posted October 2, 2001 1:34 a.m. EDT

— America was forever changed by the terrorist acts of Sept. 11. Since then, there has been an outpouring of prayer across the country and in the Triangle.

People are packing churches, mosques and synagogues. President Bush even called for a national day of prayer.

Is this return to faith is temporary or long-term?

"When we're hurting and we're suffering and we see the loss, we immediately know that we need God," says church member Robin Porter.

Raleigh's Mid-Way Baptist Church is seeing more people looking for a spiritual connection. Attendance at the church is up between 10 to 15 percent compared to the same time last year.

"I think the Lord is going to use this as an opportunity to spark a revival across our country," says Trey Baker, executive pastor.

Baker says that the church even put out an open letter encouraging people of all faiths to pray.

Many houses of worship reported a spike in attendance the weekend after the attacks, while some say attendance levels returned to normal just two weeks after the surge.

Dr. Jackson Carroll, Professor Emeritus of Religion at Duke's Divinity School, says that the church has long been a source of refuge and strength.

"Simply coming together and expressing ones faith and beliefs is a way of finding support," says Dr. Carroll.

"If people get some sense that pastors are really, honestly trying to struggle with it themselves, and to help people without giving glib answers, I think that will help retain people's interest in the church," he says.

Dr. Carroll says it is important that the clergy use this opportunity to encourage and offer support. He says this is especially true for people who are rediscovering their faith.

As people rely on their faith in times of crisis, theologians WRAL spoke with agree that the strength of that spiritual bond depends on the future threat of war and terrorism.