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'The heroes ... like the tears, are many,'
says Chemberlin in Interfaith Service

The Rev. Peg Chemberlin was quoted in an Associated Press article Sunday telling 1,400 worshippers that although they "shared anger and anguish," the city had rallied in crisis.

"It's important that we stand together and say, 'Minnesota, your heart is full of courage and compassion.'"

"The heroes in this moment, like the tears, are many," said Chemberlin, a member of the National Council of Churches Governing Board. The AP story was written by Associated Press writers Martiga Lohn and Sagar Meghani

The story also reported memorial services conducted in other houses of worship and by other faiths.

Somali Muslims prayed Sunday night in the Brian Coyle Community Center. Nursing student Sadiya Sahal, who is pregnant, and her toddler daughter, are among the missing following the bridge collapse.

The Somalis prayed for the protection of the searchers and the speedy recovery of the missing. They also announced the Somali community will hold a public memorial service for all the victims Friday at the community center.

"We're here to begin the process of restoration," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Sunday at St. Mark's . "We are also here to begin the rebuilding process."

The AP story reported that some in the crowd at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral hugged and wiped tears from their eyes as speakers remembered the dead and missing. Religious leaders offered prayers from the Bible and the Quran.

In St. Paul, about 70 parishioners gathered earlier Sunday at St. George Greek Orthodox Church to ask for the recovery of Christine Sacorafas, one of eight missing people.

Her cousin, Michelle Berge, stood quietly and alone in the back row as the Rev. Richard Demetrius Andrews asked God for compassion and comfort.

"And we ask you, Lord, to return Christine to her family and her community," he said.

"We don't know where she is," Andrews said at the conclusion of the service. "There has been no word. As far as I know, they have not even found her car. This is a very agonizing time for the family, not knowing her status. Not knowing if she's alive, not knowing if she's injured or how badly."

Sacorafas, 45, was headed to teach a Greek folk dancing class at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church, which she attended, when she got caught in a traffic jam. She called a fellow teacher minutes before the collapse and has not been heard from since.

At Holy Rosary Church in Minneapolis, the faithful thanked God for the "angels" who rescued 50 terrified children from a school bus when the span collapsed Wednesday, according to the AP.

Contact: Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228


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