University commemorates 9/11 with interfaith reflection


Candles were lit after each reflection.

With poetry, music, song and prayers, Chapman University’s Fish Interfaith Center together with the Interfaith Peace Ministry of Orange County marked the 10th anniversary of 9/11 with a service of reflection and remembrance Sunday evening at the Wallace All Faiths Chapel.

“Tonight is a time for living, a time for renewal,” The Rev. Gail Stearns, Ph.D., dean of the chapel told the audience. Dr. Stearns, along with the Rev. Dr. Dennis Short, chair of the Interfaith Peace Ministry, delivered welcoming remarks to the audience, which included attendees from a variety of faiths throughout Orange County.

Clergy, leaders and students from the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Wiccan, Sikh and Baha’i faith traditions participated in the service. After each reading or reflection, a candle was floated and lit in a large glass bowl at the front of the chapel, a symbol of the faiths’ shared values of peace and hope. Throughout the service audience members were also invited to write down “a word of hope, a word of light, a word of peace” and place it near the water.

In a moment of levity, Dr. Hasnain Walji, vice chair of the Interfaith Peace Ministry, drew a laugh from the crowd when he suggested that the world’s people already have a knack for sharing — including Mexico’s produce, Indonesia’s furniture “and everything else from China.” Perhaps religious tolerance could be next, he said.

“I believe that all faiths have something to share with each other in this interconnected world,” he said.

The 10th anniversary of the September 11 disaster was also commemorated elsewhere in the university community. The Military Law Institute held a Friday ceremony that included the playing of Taps and an open house to showcase the institute’s work on behalf of military families and veterans.

On Saturday students who had signed on for Chapman University’s National Day of Service project boarded a bus and worked through rain and hail on the Orange County Coastkeeper Demonstration Garden at Santiago College, weeding, building a bridge, installing weed block on dry riverbeds, and digging irrigation trenches.

Dawn Bonker


  • The photos are wonderful! Christina Chen was playing the marimba, not a xylophone. I thought the evening was exceptional!

    Karen Stone

  • […] Chapman University is a founding partner of the presidential program, created in 2011 to encourage colleges and universities to develop and commit to a year of interfaith and community service. Some of the sustainable water projects Chapman students served through regular work days and special travel courses are Orange County Coastkeeper, Catalina Island Conservancy, and the Roots Native Habitat Restoration project at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. The water theme was also used at other events throughout the 2011-12 school year, including at the Sept. 11 anniversary memorial and reflection. […]

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