An interfaith prayer service co-sponsored by Andrews University took place in Benton Harbor, Michigan, United States. Benton Harbor is close to the campus of the Seventh-day Adventist university in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Organizers said the event was a way of responding and making a statement against religious hatred.
Following the tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, the Interfaith Committee of the Andrews University Community Engagement Council expressed solidarity with leaders in the local Michiana Jewish community as they mourn the unprecedented loss of life last weekend. The committee began to work together with Temple B’nai Shalom to plan a prayer service. Southwest Michigan’s Interfaith Peace & Justice Collaborative and The First Hebrew Congregation of South Haven joined the effort as co-sponsors.
The resulting prayer service sought to promote solidarity and healing and to stand up against all religious hatred and prejudice. The program began with welcome thoughts from Marcus Muhammad, Benton Harbor mayor. Local leaders shared reflections, Scripture readings, and prayers, and a “Ceremony of Light” that honored the victims of the Pittsburgh shooting.
“We have all been touched and deeply saddened by the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue last weekend,” says Teresa Reeve, chair of Andrews University Interfaith Committee. “Hatred against those who differ from us has become an epidemic, formed out of fear and healed only by insistent love. If there ever was a time for silence in the face of such hatred, that moment is gone.”
Reeve emphasized that against this background, prayer is essential. “For all who seek God, prayer is the eternal starting place,” she said.
An original version of this story was posted on the Andrews University website.