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Helping People Cope With Crisis: People of Faith Respond to September 11, 2001
- Put Your Faith in Action: Concrete Steps You Can Take!
- What Do We Tell Our Children? by Rev. Meg Riley
We offer some resources to help provide religious responses to people of all ages in our congregations.
- Helping Families Respond to Tragedy by Rev. Patricia Hoertdoerfer
- Liturgical Resources (PDF, 19 pages) gathered by Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley
- How to Keep Faith in Time of Tragedy by Jen Devine
We also offer some guidelines for us all to keep in mind as we as religious people deal with this national and personal trauma:
- Religious Community. We are here for each other. Let us draw together as children, youth and adults for support and meaning-making. Let us not exclude any age from the healing process.
- Faith. Let us know that our liberal religion is also here for us. Let us draw on our Principles, traditions, values, and beliefs in a time that may test all of these. Let us remember our commitment to peace and justice, and to the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and let us reflect on what we are called to do in the months ahead. Let us not be afraid to pray or meditate. Let us be grateful for the gift of life and the grace with which we are held in our lives.
- Feelings. Let us allow each other to express our feelings. Let us meet the need to restore a sense of safety, especially to our children, even as we acknowledge our vulnerability.
- Action. Our attention turns first to the pastoral need to comfort and heal. Yet some simple actions can help the grieving process by diminishing feelings of helplessness. We can write sympathy cards or letters of protest, donate blood or send money, support the Red Cross and our congregations in the New York City and D.C. areas; we can speak out against racist reactions to this tragedy. In time, we can also examine the political context of these events and discern what long-term social activism we may feel called to undertake.
The members of the Unitarian Universalist Association Religious Education Department share your shock and grief. Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers, and that we are here to help in any way we can.
—Judith A. Frediani, Religious Education Department
Educators for Social Responsibility has an excellent collection of resources:
- Children's Defense Fund has many appropriate resources, especially the Children's Sabbath 2002 Manual of worship, educational, and advocacy resources, which you may still be able to order from the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® Celebration site.
- The Institute for Peace and Justice publishes a newsletter four times a year and in 2002 their issue themes corresponded to components of their Pledge of Nonviolence. "Be the Best We Can Be," an article by Jim McGinnis in a recent newsletter, was very thought-provoking.
- YES! a journal of positive futures has recently published the best collection of prose, poetry, and prayers in response to 9/11 tragedy. Their issues titled "Can Love Save The World?" (Winter 2001) and "What Does It Mean to be an American Now?" (Spring 2002) are filled with writings from famous and ordinary people that stir your heart and mind, soul and spirit.
- Constructive Conversations about Challenging Times (PDF, 40 pages): A Guide to Family Dialogue
- Grassroots International is offering education materials in the form of partcipatory workshops, designed to help community groups reflect on the issues confronting our nation. The first workshop, Global Security: Options Beyond War encourages participants to examine alternative means of addressing terrorism and security. The second, Extending Rights, Building Security provides a framework for participants to explore the connections between the protection and extension of human rights and the creation of a more just, and thus safer, place for all of us. Both have been used at public events, organizational meetings or much less formal house meetings.
- PBS FRONTLINE: "Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero": As the country prepares to commemorate the victims and heroes of September 11, FRONTLINE returns to Ground Zero, both literally and metaphorically, and explores these fundamental spiritual questions. What was it we saw on Sept. 11? Was it the true face of evil? Was it the face of religion? And where, if one is a believer, was God? Indeed, if one is not a believer, did Sept. 11 make the idea of God that much more of an impossibility? Or was there something in the human response to the tragedy that suggested transcendence?