Local Religious Leaders Unite, Lead Multifaith Group in Prayer for Peace

Leaders from 14 different religious congregations joined last night with about 200 students and area residents to pray and light candles for peace.

"The night is very much upon us," Rev. H. Frederick Reisz, Jr. told those attending the multifaith service at the University Lutheran Church on Winthrop St. "Let us then up and pray for dawn, a dawn of new life, a dawn of hope.

Clergy from Cambridge churches and chaplains from the United Ministry of Harvard University led the session of readings, thoughts and prayers for peace.

Included among the speakers were Cambridge Mayor Alice K. Wolf, Sally Finestone, acting director of Harvard Hillel, and Pamela Taylor, member of the Harvard University Islamic Society and a student at the Divinity School.

Wolf spoke first, quoting a resolution passed by City Council Monday night supporting the multifaith service.

the rest of the speakers each offered prayers from their tradition, most of them adding a personal commentary on war and peace. Many of the speakers allowed a brief period of time for private prayer, and several members of the public offered their prayers aloud.

One man told a story of the fathers of the dead soldiers from both sides of a battle hugging their sons and asking, "Why?"

"If everyone wants to know why we're doing it, we shouldn't be doing it," he said.

The speakers' prayers for peace were from various sources, including the Koran, the Torah and the Bible.

Louise R. Conant, associate rector of the Christ Church Episcopal of Cambridge said before the service that her prayer was "for the future of the human race."

Reisz read a call for peace from the writings of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and led the congregation in prayer. Later, the congregation sang "Dona Nobis Pacem."

Finestone offered her hope that "nations shall not raise their swords against each other nor study war any more."

The speakers planned to lead a candlelight procession outside the church after the service was done.

"We want the feeling of the light of peace and the reminder of peace spreading out through the community," Reisz said.