Eugene's Unique Interfaith Prayer Service Needs Support
Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Bill Harris
Eugene-Springfield may soon lose one of its unique attractions. For almost nine years, there has been an interfaith service on the 11th of each month at First Christian Church in Eugene. That may soon change.
Like many communities across the nation, Eugene-Springfield responded to the events of Sept. 11, 2001, with interfaith services as requested by President Bush in an attempt to bring together, in a prayerful environment, our community's diverse spiritual paths.
Unlike other communities, some of us saw the need to make interfaith services a monthly event.
We believed showing love and respect to one another, regardless of spiritual paths or the lack thereof, is not something we do in response to some event. The monthly Interfaith Prayer Services demonstrate that it is possible to put aside our differences and come together in sincere appreciation of who each of us is and what each of us believes.
During these monthly services, our every effort is to ensure that everyone is welcome, everyone is safe and everyone's traditions are respected.
Four women came together to plan the first monthly service. Rev. Dan Bryant offered Eugene's First Christian Church as the location. Oct. 11, 2001, was the date of that first monthly service, called the Interfaith Prayer, Reflection and Remembrance Service. Later, the name changed to Interfaith Prayer & Reflection Service.
Over the years, the original planning group of four women has expanded to a volunteer board of 15 men and women. On Jan. 11, 2010, we held our 100th consecutive monthly service. All have been at First Christian Church, 1166 Oak St. in Eugene, at 7 p.m. on the 11th of each month. Nothing, including ice, snow or rain, has prevented these services from happening. We know of no other community anywhere that has a monthly interfaith service.
Though there are interfaith spiritual paths, our monthly Interfaith Prayer Service is not a religion or spiritual path. Our intent is not to replace any spiritual paths or beliefs. Our sole purpose is to bring all people together in a prayerful, respectful venue to learn about the spiritual paths their neighbors have chosen.
We ask each month's spiritual path representatives to avoid proselytizing, political agendas and instruction. Every month we demonstrate that the practitioners of diverse religions and everyone in attendance, in their own special way, can appreciate praying, singing, chanting or reading from the sacred texts of the spiritual paths of others.
Everyone is welcome to participate to the extent their own spiritual paths or comfort levels allow. …