NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Bishop Larry M. Goodpaster, President of the Council of Bishops, is urging United Methodists to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with prayer and interfaith connection.
In a statement, Bishop Goodpaster calls upon United Methodists "and all people of faith" to "a renewed commitment to ministry of reconciliation, and to being witnesses of God's love and grace for and in the whole world."
"None of us who watched in shock and horror as the events unfolded on that fateful day in New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC will ever forget the images," the bishop writes. "We remember the innocent lives that were lost on that day. We remember the first responders who put their lives on the line to provide assistance in the midst of the devastation. We remember the ways in which the world reached out to embrace us in our pain and grief. And we remember the generous outpouring of more than $20 million through the United Methodist Committee on Relief and our 'Love in the Midst of Tragedy' special offerings."
However, he says, "Even as we recall all of these events of a decade ago, we are also a people whose faith and hope in Christ Jesus turn our hearts and lives toward the future. We proclaim the Resurrection message that the future belongs to God's reconciled new creation, and we live toward that time when the dividing walls of hostility will come down and God will wipe away every tear, and death will be no more…. We believe that God works for good in all things, and that the goodness and mercy of God can overcome even the most tragic events and experiences in this world."
Bishop Goodpaster urges United Methodist churches to take the lead in planning for and providing services of worship and prayer. "Let us build bridges of trust and reconciliation through these services by inviting and encouraging people of all faiths to come together for prayer…. Let us seek to restore a sense of hope for the future by praying for and working for the healing of broken relationships. Let us remember that day of pain, suffering, and grief; but let us also seek to bind up the wounds and renew our efforts to work for peace with justice."