Prayers for love, peace, unity

Eight representatives from different faiths were joined by approximately 100 people on a rainy winter’s night to pray for peace and unity in the Wilton community, the nation, and the world.

A Service of Interfaith Prayer and Solidarity took place Tuesday evening, Feb. 7, at Wilton Presbyterian Church. There was music, prayer, and the lighting of candles.

“Together we stand in our own faith traditions and we join together in solidarity. We pray, we are in silence together and show solidarity for one another,” the Rev. Shannon White said in welcoming the audience.

The overriding theme invoked by the speakers was love and respect for one another, justice, peace, and reverence for the world around us.

The Rev. Peggy Fabrizio, interim pastor of Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church, invited those assembled to pray that people here and around the world be guided in the ways of justice and peace. “That we may honor one another and serve the common good.”

She prayed people would show “reverence for the earth. That we may use its resources in the service of others.”

Louise Herot explained that the Christian Science Church has no “official” prayer, and so invited the audience to spend “a moment in quiet reflection on whatever means the most to you to bring us closer to that infinite love that blesses every single one of us.”

Sister Maryann Calabrese of the School Sisters of Notre Dame read from a letter of Paul and said, “Living in love is our hope and our aid — love that is patient, kind and of service of others, rejoicing in others. And as Pope Francis reminds us, that does not despair of the future, that speaks of the hope of one who knows that others can change, mature, and radiate unexpected beauty and untold potential. Love that never gives up.

“With the contemplative, imaginative and transformative power of love, creation is renewed and life in its fullness is in the realm of possibility for all.”

Rabbi Rachel Bearman of Temple B’nai Chaim sang a Hebrew prayer that translated to “May the one who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us and all who are here.”

The Rev. Dr. Marion Aldridge, interim pastor of Wilton Baptist Church, reminded those assembled, “We have overcome dark nights, terrible deeds. We pray now for new songs in our hearts, songs of faith and hope and praise. Creator, Redeemer, Sustainer, Allah and Wisdom, we know you by many names. … Help us to love one another … grant us wisdom, grant us courage … we pray for the sake of all that is holy in heaven and Earth.

Dr. Kareem Adeeb of the American Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies opened the proceedings singing an Islamic prayer and then spoke at the end, praying in part that “we are trusted to build up the earth, not destroy it — physically, economically, financially, socially, and above all morally.

“Bless this gathering who came here to pray to you and show solidarity for the human race, regardless of religion, national origin, race, whatever.”

Concluding the ceremony, all the participants stood together. White said, “We stand here as a symbol, people who are very different yet who are friends, colleagues. We encourage you to linger here for a bit and to get to know someone whom you never met before.”

Also participating were the Rev. Dr. Anne Coffman, pastor of the Wilton Congregational Church, and Fiona Smith Sutherland, director of music at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church. Unable to attend were the Rev. Alon White, interim rector of St. Matthew’s, and Swami Balgopal of Hindu Mandir of Wilton.