September 11, 2001 has gone down in history as the day that shocked the world. America is remembering the occasion with special Memorial Services and Prayer Meetings for peace and reconciliation in thousands of churches and locations, organised by a wide variety of denominations and organisations.
In Australia the occasion has not gone overlooked.
On the last sitting day of Federal Parliament, August 29, the leader of the Australian Labor Party, Simon Crean, acknowledged the Prime Minister, John Howard for his willingness to acknowledge the tragedy. Mr Crean presented his speech, naming the ten Australians who died: Kevin Dennis; Alberto Dominguez; Elisa Ferraina; Craig Neil Gibson; Peter Gyulavary; Yvonne Kennedy; Andrew Knox; Lesley Anne Thomas; Steve Tompsett and Leanne Whiteside.
In the nation's capital, the Photographic Exhibition by Joel Meyerowitz, entitled "After September 11: Images from Ground Zero", is on display in Parliament House Canberra from September 3 to 29 (open from 9.00am to 5.00pm daily). The collection of 28 images, going around the world from London (March 5), throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australian cities, Perth (May 31); Melbourne (July) and Sydney (August), is in the nation's capital for this auspicious occasion.
A "Service of Unity from the Church of Frankston, Remembering 9-11 Together" is being held on Sunday, September 8, at 6.30pm in the John Paul College Auditorium, Frankston, Victoria. Representatives of the various churches taking part, will lead the prayers. The Mayor of Frankston will present an address on behalf of the town and a video will remind those gathered of the events in America. A special video, "Heroes" will be screened and a song, "Unsung Hero" will be presented.
On Wednesday, September 11, "The World's Biggest Hug for Peace" has been organised by the World Peace Society of the University of Wollongong, south of Sydney, and will be held at 6.00pm. In an attempt to break the previous Guinness world record of 1802 people, the event will include a one minute "silent hug" for victims of war everywhere.
Staff from the Embassy of the United States in Canberra will be attending the non-denominational Memorial Service at 10.00am, September 11, in St Christopher's Catholic Cathedral, Manuka. The Service has been organised by the Prime Minister's Department with representatives of various denominations, families of the victims and members of government, taking part.
In Melbourne, St Paul's Anglican Cathedral will hold a Memorial Service on September 11, at 11.00am with the theme "Remembering September 11: in solidarity with the victims of terror everywhere". Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo of Rwanda will be the guest speaker. Bishop Alexis has participated in peace-building and reconciliation processes since surviving his own experiences in Rwanda in 1994.
Also in Melbourne, the Wesley Uniting Church, Lonsdale Street, will be conducting a "Peace Service" on September 11, at 12.30pm.
The Federal Member for Aston, in Melbourne, Chris Pearce MP has arranged an interdenominational Service of Commemoration and Thanksgiving for "the Americans, Australians and people from many other nationalities" who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. The special service will be held in the Waverley Christian Fellowship at 10.00am on Wednesday September 11 because of its central location and Mr Pearce invited "all members of the Aston community to attend".
In Bendigo, Victoria, a special noon service will be addressed by Dr Bob Willoughby of the Church Army, in St Paul's Cathedral.
St David's Cathedral, in Hobart, Tasmania, will be conducting a "Special Service for the Community on the First Anniversary of September 11", at 12.15pm, followed by a Eucharist for Peace at 1.05pm.
In Adelaide, the Heads of Churches have organised an ecumenical Day of Prayer for September 11, commencing at 8.30am and going through until the 5.15pm Evensong Service, in St Peter's Anglican Cathedral. Throughout the day, all who have died around the world in various conflicts - and their families - will be remembered in prayer. The theme will be "Prayer for Peace in our World".
Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle, New South Wales, will conduct a Service of Liturgy of Remembrance at 6.00pm on September 11, led by the Dean, the Very Rev Graham Lawrence. In Grafton, NSW, "Prayers for Peace" will be held in Christ Church Cathedral, at 7.00pm, led by the Dean, the Very Rev. Dr Peter Catt.
In Western Australia, a 12.30pm Memorial Recital for victims of September 11, will feature the orchestra of St Hilda's Anglican Girls' School, in St George's Cathedral, with meditations presented by the Lord Mayor, Dr Peter Nattrass and the U.S. Consul, Oscar De Soto.
Perhaps the smallest gathering will be in a home in Darwin, in the Northern Territory, where a regular Prayer Meeting takes place for the Persecuted Church around the world. The organiser, Gail Petherick said they will have a special meeting on Wednesday, September 11, praying for all concerned.
One comment that summed up the general feeling was: "People's attention has been turning to God, asking 'what it's all about' and the ministers of the churches have been presenting a united front, showing that it does not matter which church you attend for it is the same God we worship and to whom we pray."
Article by: Ramon Williams