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Parishioners turn to faith, prayer

September 12, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

As the sun set, Imperial Valley parishioners honored the memory of those who died in Tuesday's coordinated attacks against the United States.

A group prayer at the end of the short service at First United Methodist Church in El Centro gave voice to those who wanted to speak.

"We pray … for the emergency personnel who gave their lives to save others."

"… for all the children of the victims."

"Lord, we're tempted to be angry and cry out. We're asking for your mercy."

"… for all those who go to bed in fear tonight."

"… for those in the armed forces."

"… for America."

A woman dabbed at the tears collected on her flushed cheeks.

"Lord, help us not to retaliate in like kind."

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The Rev. Suzi Jacobson of First United Methodist led Tuesday night's service.

In her opening comments, she said, "I vacillated between believing and not believing this is happening.

"It has to be something like Pearl Harbor was like."

She said the purpose of the service was to "gather in memory of people who lost their lives and hope for those who are laboring in rescue efforts."

She said everyone needs to "receive some strength and comfort as we prepare to move through the next days and weeks ahead."

During the New Testament reading she read from the Beatitudes, the familiar passage from the book of Matthew in which Jesus gives his disciples rules to live by.

One of the Beatitudes reads, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

After the reading and a hymn, Jacobson shook her head and said "something is terribly wrong. There is such anger in the world."

She said the church recognizes the "presence of evil" and "we don't take that lightly."

A woman nodded her head in agreement.

"We have to face up to whatever we have to face up to," Jacobson said.

After the service parishioners milled about recalling the events of the day.

A woman spread her arms and hugged a fellow church member.

"Oh what a day," she said.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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