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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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January 27, 2009

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Kevin

Hello Deacon Dan,

I read your post regarding unity for christians, and I too have been troubled by this for at least the past 7 years. Did you watch the National Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral in Washington DC?

For me it was the high point of the inauguration and truly provided a sign of "hope." Nearly every religion was represented and for a brief moment everyone was praying together and all "doctrinal" differences were left outside the door.

Is this not what God wants? All men to love one another, and respect one another without malice or hate.

Obviously this was for the inauguration, but can you imagine if prayer services like this were conducted every Sunday?

Why not??? Anything is possible.

Here is an overview of the National Prayer Service.
Is it possible that for a brief moment the Pope's prayer was answered.

The prayer service will "embody the themes of tolerance, unity, and understanding." It will be an interfaith service.

The sermon will be given by Sharon E. Watkins, General Minister and President, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church). Reverend Watkins will be the first woman to deliver a sermon at a National Prayer Service. It is not clear yet where in the service schedule her sermon will come.

The music will be provided by the Washington D.C.-based Gospel Children's Choir.
National Prayer Service Program

Welcome - Reverend Samuel T. Lloyd III, Dean of the Washington Cathedral

Invocation - Reverend John Bryon Chane, Episcopal Bishop of Washington

Opening Prayer - Reverend Otis Moss Jr., Senior Pastor Emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio

Prayer for Civil Leaders - Reverend Andy Stanley, Senior Pastor, North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Georgia

Scripture Readings - Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Atlanta, Georgia, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, New York City, and the Most Reverend Francisco Gonzalez, S.F., Auxiliary Bishop of Washington

Psalm Reading - Rabbi David Saperstein, Executive Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington, D.C.

Responsive Prayers--
Dr. Ingrid Mattson, President, Islamic Society of North America, Hartford, CT
Rev. Suzan Johnson-Cook, Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship, New York City
Rabbi Jerome Epstein, Director, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, New York City
Rev. Carol Wade of the Washington National Cathedral
Dr. Uma Mysorekar, President, Hindu Temple Society of North America, New York City
Rev. Jim Wallis, President, Sojourners, Washington, D.C.
Rabbi Haskal Lookstein, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurunm, New York City
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell, Senior Pastor, Windsor Village United Methodist Church, Houston, TX
Prayer for the Nation - Donald W. Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, D.C

Closing Prayer - Bishop Katherine Jefferts-Schori, Presiding Bishop, Episcopal Church USA

Benediction - Reverend Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary of the Reformed Church in America

Carol

I wish someone had provided this kind of elaboration and talk-up of the Assisi meetings, but ah, well--it was only the Pope calling for those.

The above sounds a lot like the program at our ecumenical services for Thanksgiving Day as well as for MLK Day the past decade or two. Both these holidays' celebrations move around the city's churches of many denominations including at the Temple. The usual 100-200 or so souls show up. It is very hard for a Catholic to be in a congregation where Christ hasn't lived (Temple) and where He isn't crucified (Protestant). On the other hand, it's very illuminating. Unity-wise, tho', we do it twice a year, and everyone seems okay with that.

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