Interfaith service held to pray for healing in the Gulf of Mexico

Imam Wissam Interfaith-Gulf of Mexico
Interfaith service held to pray for healing in the Gulf of Mexico
Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 8:34 PM Updated: Tuesday, June 29, 2010, 9:34 PM
Suzanne McLaughlin, The Republican
SPRINGFIELD – The sun shone beautifully Tuesday evening on the interfaith service, “Oil in the Gulf: A Service for Healing Our Earth.”

The service was organized by Rabbi Mark Shapiro of Sinai Temple in Springfield along with members of the Interfaith Council of Western Massachusetts which included the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, the Council of Churches of Greater Springfield, Al Baqi Mosque and new England Peace Pagoda of Leverett.

Judy Ruland of Holy Cross Church on Plumtree Road said she came to the service which was conducted on the lawn in front of Trinity United Methodist Church on Sumner Avenue because she cares about “stewardship of the earth.”

“I thought this was a positive thing to do,” she said.

Juscrea Giammarino came to the service with her four and a half month old son, Kinabe Dana and her mother, Barbara Giammarino.

“The oil in the Gulf of Mexico is devastating,” she said. Barbara Giammarino said she and her family are American Indian and members of the Penobscot nation.

“Our tradition says we need to care for the earth for the seventh generation,” she said.
Rev. Gyoway Kato and Sister Clare Carter of the New England Peace Pagoda in Leverett sang a Buddhist chant for peace.

The people and the earth must take the same path if they are to be as one, Sister Clare Carter said.
Verne McArthur of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield started the service by singing, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”
At the start of the service a bell was rung 71 times for the 71 days the spill has continued.
The names were read of the 11 workers who died in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and of the sea life which is now jeopardized in the Gulf.

At the end of the service Shapiro said, “As we mourn the loss of Eden, we also pray for better times. We hope to be stronger. We promise to be wiser, we affirm that we will not go back to business as usual.”