9/11 Gatherings in the South Bay

Conversation at Campbell United Methodist at an earlier dinner gathering.

Interreligious gatherings ranging from a rally on behalf of a “Commitment to the Common Good” to a picnic and a prayer service are among the events that will mark September 11, the 11th anniversary of the tragic attacks on the Twin Towers by radical terrorists.

For many, those events were a wake-up call to the need to understand more about their neighbors and to forge relationships of trust and compassion that would make for a stronger community which would include diversity, rather than foster suspicion and hostility.

Among the congregations to reach out was the United Methodist Church of Campbell. Several years ago, they invited members of the Muslim community in Santa Clara County to join them for a dinner and prayer service, and that gathering has become a regular part of 9/11 commemorations since. This year is no different, as the church opens its doors to Muslims and others in the community for a vegetarian, kosher, and halal meal, opportunity for interreligious conversation and time for prayers. The event, “Building Bridges: An Evening of Unity and Understanding,” is co-sponsored by the Pacifica Institute, a Muslim group that promotes cross-cultural understanding.

Dinner reservations are now closed, but any interested people are welcome to join the prayers and discussion, which will begin with Muslim evening prayers in the church courtyard at about 8:00 pm, followed by further remembrances and prayers in the Chapel. The church is located at 1675 Winchester Blvd., Campbell.

McEntee Plaza in front of the Santa Clara County building at 70 W. Hedding in San Jose will be the venue for another dinner and gathering, hosted by American Muslim Voice and County Supervisor Dave Cortese. From 5:00 – 7:00 pm, faith groups and community organizations will gather as part of the “Miracle Movement of Peace and Friendship.” A free dinner will be offered, and attendees are asked to bring “poems, essays, songs, skits, or spoken words” that express their vision of an inclusive nation. Co-sponsors of the event include an array of interfaith groups, religious congregations, and governmental agencies.

A gathering of a different type will take place at 11:00 am at St. Joseph’s Cathedral at 80 South Market Street, San Jose. Religious leaders from Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, Unitarian, and other traditions will lead a worship service affirming the religious values that undergird a commitment to the common good. The service will be followed by a short walk to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library at 4th and San Fernando Streets, where there will be a rally in support of several upcoming ballot issues. The event is sponsored by San Jose PACT and the Interfaith Council on Economics and Justice.

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