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Remembering 9/11

   

"Life has changed. The question now is how I will change in response, and how I will help my children understand that we are part of a larger world."

—Cynthia Lapp in Where was God on September 11?

Winnipeg, Man.—Arlyn Friesen Epp, director of peace and justice for MC Canada asks, "How do we respond to the memory of nine-eleven in light of a super-saturated media menu on this anniversary? How might MC Canada congregations mark this first anniversary?"

Confronting the question of how to respond is challenging. Friesen Epp suggests several ways that Canadian Mennonites can respond. While the suggestions are not new or exhaustive, Friesen Epp says we are reminded that God continues to call us.

In response to his own question, Friesen Epp urges the following:

  • Seek a meditative space in your weekly schedule. "Let’s recommit ourselves, in worship and prayer, to be people of love and peace, acknowledging God’s compassion and care for all creation," says Friesen Epp.

  • Teach children to resist violence and model ways of resolving conflict peacefully.

  • Mourn with those who lost loved ones in the United States and for whom this date and its memories hold much pain. Grieve with the Afghan people who lost friends and family during the subsequent war Canada supported in their homeland.

  • Learn more about how Canadian complicity in global structures promotes inequities, injustice, suffering and violence. Acknowledge that the events of September 11 expose larger oppressive international realities.

  • Reach out and get to know people of Muslim and other faith traditions. Pray for our Canadian Muslim neighbours and seek to build trust and understanding between our communities of faith.

  • Increase your awareness of and sensitivity to racism within and around us. Seek just relationships with neighbours of different races in the midst of the racial profiling and discrimination which follows September 11.

  • September 11 is not the only anniversary of terror in the world. May September 11 awaken many of us to the realities of violence and terror that have been and continue to be experienced by many people around the globe.

  • Pray for peace grounded in justice. Act for peace. Fax, write, email, phone our Canadian political leaders, encouraging them to be a voice for peace, particularly as the United States government prepares to expand its "war against terrorism" to Iraq. Pray that the Mennonite Church in the United States can speak faithfully and courageously to its government.

May peace-seeking people everywhere find inspiration and hope in Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God."

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Sidebar: Resources for remembering September 11, 2001:

  • Litany for many voices, "To become as a watered garden" Peace and Justice Support Network
  • Litany of Resistance, Christian Peacemaker Teams
  • Where Was God on September 11? Available from Herald Press (1-800-743-2484 and 1-800-245-7894) and the MC Canada Resource Centre (1-866-888-6785)
  • Peace Boxes – available from the MC Canada Resource Centre, traveling Peace Boxes are full of engaging materials and can be requested by calling 1-866-888-6785.