Township Interfaith Council Uses National Prayer Day As Starting Point For Renewed Effort For Unity

National Day of Prayer 2016

Members of the Franklin Township Interfaith Council observe the National Day of Prayer at Veterans Memorial Park.

The National Prayer Day observance at the township Veterans’ Memorial marked what members of the township’s Interfaith Council hope is the start of a new vitality for the organization.

More than two dozen members of township-based religious traditions gathered at the memorial on DeMott Lane for the ceremony, hosted by the Rev. Osy Nüesch of the Six Mile Run Reformed Church. Represented were the Catholic, Presbyterian, Protestant, Reformed, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Baha’i religions.

Aso on hand were Mayor Phillip Kramer and Township Councilman Rajiv Prasad (D- At Large).

“This is a beautiful thing to do,” Nüesch said to the gathering. “We are enriched by all of our traditions.”

“We center ourselves so we can see the blessings of the day,” he said.

During the ceremony, readings from different faith traditions were presented, and prayers were said for local, state and national officials, first responders and neighbors and friends.

Alex Kharazi, of the Masjid-e-Ali mosque on Cedar Grove Lane, organized the event. He said that in addition to observing National Prayer Day, the participants would also be meeting to create a formal structure for the township Interfaith Council.

“We really want to play a uniting role in the township,” Kharazi said. “We’re trying to use faith to unite us, rather than divide us. We want to bring the community together in things that we have in common.”

“All faiths have certain things that they value, compassion, peace, coexistence, helping the needy and so forth,” Kharazi said. “So we said let’s focus on those things that we have in common and focus on things that we can do for the community so the community is united.”

Kharazi said the group will form two sub-divisions, a clergy council and a youth council.

“The clergy council we believe is going to be the key one,” he said.

Kharazi said he hoped the youth council could organize at least two events during a year, “so they can do things in the community and also improve their leadership skills.”

Kharazi said the Interfaith Council is also open to those who do not profess a particular faith.

“There are people who don’t believe inGod, or don’t have a faith,” he said. “It’s ok, because our goal is to bring the community together. They can come and play a positive role as well.”

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