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Special NCC Report on Faith Communions’ Resources
For Observing the September 11 Anniversary

Faith groups and their congregations across the United States observed the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist incidents in a variety of ways.  This brief survey samples some of the plans of the 36 member communions of the National Council of Churches, plus non-member denominations that participate in various activities of the Council.  Where available, links to more details are shown. 

You will also want to see "Eleven Days in September," a web collection prepared by The Shalom Center, where an extensive survey of interfaith observances has been collected, in partnership with the NCC.

American Baptist Churches
The ABC-USA website features many of the denomination's terrorism responses and resources, including the Relief Fund for Victims of Terrorist Attack . . . Shalom Response at National Ministries Online . . . Song "United We Stand" . . . Resources for discipling children at Educational Ministries . . . Litany by Garth House . . .  Judson Press publications . . .Caring statements from around the world . . . and a link to the Pastoral resources Web site developed through NCC and its partners. 

Armenian Church of America
and Oriental Orthodox Churches

The Church remembered the victims and survivors of September 11 with a special memorial service on Sunday, September 8 in New York City.  The service began at Ground Zero at 3:00 pm and continued with a requiem service at St. Vartan Cathedral.  A reception followed in the Kavookjian Auditorium.   This service was sponsored by the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern) and the Oriental Orthodox Churches.  Clergy of many of the Oriental Orthodox Churches participated. 

Photo by Pam Hasegawa from ABC-USA.Christian Church-Disciples of Christ
The Disciples website carries a special section that suggests a daily response to commemorate the terrorist events:  "In soup kitchens,  In neighborhood centers, In schools, shelters and hospitals.With service groups that can tell us what needs to be done, right now. AND with our brothers and sisters of all shades, faiths, and cultures working beside us. God is calling us to Ground Zero...and it's right here, in our own community." [Photo at left by Pam Hasegawa for ABC-USA.]

Church World Service
CWS, the international humanitarian ministry of the NCC's member communions, is sponsoring a continuing series of  post 9/11 conferences focused on best practices in trauma awareness and transformation, restorative justice, conflict transformation, and peace-building to help participants explore how to lead their communities and faith groups in healing and building peace and justice in the wake of the terrorist attacks.The CWS Emergency Response Program has also prepared a series of resources for preparing liturgies commemorating the events of September 11.

Episcopal Church
Presiding Bishop The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold has written his monthly column with a focus on the commemoration of the September 11 events, and the following prayer that could be used in observances of the anniversary:    "God the compassionate one, whose loving care extends to all the world, we remember this day your children of many nations and many faiths whose lives were cut short by the fierce flames of anger and hatred. Console those who continue to suffer and grieve, and give them comfort and hope as they look to the future. Out of what we have endured, give us the grace to examine our relationships with those who perceive us as the enemy, and show our leaders the way to use our power to serve the good of all for the healing of the nations. This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord who, in reconciling love, was lifted up from the earth that he might draw all things to himself. Amen."

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
In a special web section, the ELCA provides its congregations with resources in worship, prayer and action, highlighting printed and spoken resources through The Lutheran magazine and Lutheran Vespers.  A litany and a photo album are among the materials on the website.  A Joint ELCA and Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Declaration of September 8 as a day of commemoration is also included.

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
"In Memory, In Faith, In Hope -The Church's Response to Tragedy" is the theme of a web-based summary of the Greek Orthodox connections to the September 11 events and their aftermath, including the rebuilding plans for the only church destroyed in the attacks -- St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was located opposite the World Trade Center. Among special ceremonies this month were a Divine Liturgy and Memorial Service at the Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in New York, September 8,  telecast live on the web  8-noon EDT at, and a Commemoration of the Cross and Memorial Service on September 14 at the St.Nicholas Church site at Ground Zero at 6 p.m.

Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
The LCMS website carries a lengthy index of worship resources for commemorating the 9/11 anniversary, including hymns, choral settings, scripture references, responsive readings and other instrumental arrangements suitable for downloading.  The LCMS has long been a participant in the NCC Communication Commission.Photo from World Council of Churches

Mennonite Church USA
The church's website offers extensive material on observing the anniversary of 9/11/01.  A section called "New Patriotism" has been added to the Peace Blend section of Third Way Cafe.   Many of the articles in this section came from a book called "Where Was God on Sept. 11?"  In addition, the Mennonite Central Committee website carries additional resources for Mennonite and Brethren in Christ congregations in both the U.S. and Canada. The Mennonites are active partners in the work of the NCC Communication Commission.

Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
A summary of statements and actions from the tragedy, plus resources for "those laboring with issues of our peace process" are offered on the PYM website.

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Presbyterian Church's website offers numerous resources, including the outline of a service of prayer and remembrance and a message from the moderator, The Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu-Akel . . . a forum on PresbyNet for discussing issues in the aftermath of terrorism and another for sharing worship aids . . . an extensive initiative in peacemaking -- the Interfaith Listening Project . . .and an extensive array of suggestions for commemorating the anniversary from the editors of Ideas! For Church Leaders magazine.

Reformed Church in America
The RCA website offers many helps for commemorating the tragic day of terrorism, including an Order of Worship . . . a litany of remembrance, healing, and hope, and a litany for the church. . . and suggestions for age-graded studies on topics such as death, violence, tolerance . . . a primer on Islam . .  and  an online forum for discussing the issues surrounding the events.

Serbian Orthodox Church in the USA and Canada
The church's website has an extensive index of resources for commemorating the first anniversary of the September 11 events, including statements by church officials, a background paper on terrorism, a prayer for peace, and other articles of interest.

Photo by Pam Hasegawa, from ABC-USA.Seventh Day Adventist Church
This partner in the work of the NCC's Communication Commission is featuring a complete index to its responses to 9/11 on its website.   Included are reproductions of the church's advertisements in the New York Times and Washington Post.

Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch
A summary of activities in the aftermath of the tragedies, mostly from fall 2001, is carried on the church's website.   [Photo at left by Pam Hasegawa for ABC-USA.]

Ukranian Orthodox Church of the USA
The Council of Bishops' statement on the anniversary of the September 11 events is carried on the church's website.

United Church of Christ
The focus of the UCC's website resources for the terrorism anniversary is on worship, with suggestions for liturgy, Bible study and music.   You may also want to use the website's "search" function to locate many other resources -- simply type the word terrorism in the search box and hit enter; a recent such search yielded 84 items of interest.

United Methodist Church
The largest of the NCC's member denominations is co-sponsoring with the Council an electronic billboard at the entrance to New York's Holland Tunnel bearing words of hope and encouragement to commuters headed to lower Manhattan during the month of September . . . the UMC website carries an extensive series of articles focused on Remembering 9/11 . . .  The church's Igniting Ministry program of outreach and renewal has also prepared special September initiatives which are on their website. During the day-long coverage of 9/11 events, Iginiting Ministry aired a number of United Methodist messages of faith and hope on the NBC television network.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The publishing arm of the United States  Conference of Catholic Bishops  has posted to its website a comprehensive resource titled Nine Days to 9/11, presenting visitors with a day-by-day spiritual response to the observance of the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.  The USCCB is a long-time partner with the NCC in the work of the Interfaith Broadcasting Commission, which produces faith-based network TV programming.

September 11 Services at Washington National Cathedral
NCC General Secretary Bob Edgar joined other leaders of national faith institutions and Archbishop Desmond Tutu in offering prayers of remembrance and peace at an 8 a.m. service at the Washington National Cathedral, Episcopal.  The tolling of the Bourdon bell marked the anniversary moment of each attack one year ago. The text of Dr. Edgar's prayer is as follows:

O God, we join our hands in remembrance,  and ask You to link our prayers with the millions of prayers being offered this day around the world for peace and justice and reconciliation.  In humility, as we reach out to each other in penitence, we ask You to remind us of our common humanity and that each one of us is treasured in Your sight. Though we come from many faiths, we are pulled together by a common experience of Your love, enlighted by Your Holy Word - A word of comfort for the victims of September 11th… A word of counsel for those who seek revenge…A word of courage for those who live in fear…and a word of hope for all of us who hold each other’s hands.
These are the hands of police and firefighters who have carried heavy burdens on our behalf... These are the hands of children crying out in pain for a lost father or mother...These are the hands of the elderly reaching beyond loneliness...These are the hands of families wiping away tears of grief for their beloved....These are the hands of public officials repairing the fabric of society....And these are the hands of average, ordinary, people like us, who ask: “Why?” 
We remember those who perished and those who suffer still. We confess our own contribution to the brokenness of the human community. We live in the bold hope that joined together, we might forge a better world.
With You, O Lord, our hearts are not broken, our spirits are not dashed, our hopes are not destroyed. 
In you, O Lord, we dare to believe that in courage and faith, hope is born.
From You, O Lord, we ask for healing of the heart and strengthening of the hand, that together we may…“Do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly” with You, our God.” Amen.

Ecumenical and interfaith reports related to the 2002 Anniversary observance:

  • Churches Plan Interfaith Open Houses to Commemorate September 11 Anniversary

  • Litany of 'Remembrance, Penitence, Hope' Offered On Anniversary of 9/11/01

  • NCC, Methodists Will Offer Messages of Hope to NYC Commuters on Giant Screen

  • Be sure to check The Shalom Center for more resources.  If you have materials to add from your denomination, please e-mail Pat Pattillo [] or Sarah Vilankulu [].   

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