Inside the gently-lit sanctuary of in North Caldwell, Christians, Jews and Muslims prayed and sang together Sunday evening, during a somber service to remember those who died on Sept. 11.
Rev. Jeff Markay, the pastor at gave the reflection at the service. Markay recalled residents meeting nine years ago at a local high school to call out the names of people who had perished on 9/11 and talked about how houses of faith are places of refuge, that offer help and hospitality to those in need.
Markay recalled how St. Paul's Chapel near Ground Zero opened its doors to emergency workers in the days after the terrorist attacks to give them food, shelter and counseling. In the years after, he said the trustees of that church decided not to repair the nicks and dings on the wooden pews in order to remember the events from 10 years ago.
He said local clergy learned lessons from the events that happened a decade ago. "We talked about our community and we saw so much love and compassion and how powerful it was as we gathered together. We learned from each other how to work together since 9/11."
The interfaith service was sponsored by the West Essex Ministerial Association and represented many of the houses of faith in the Caldwells. Also in attendance were Muslims from the Peace Island Institute of Newark, formerly known aas the Interfaith Dialog Center. Dr. Mesut Sahin, from the Institute, read from the Koran during the service.
Notre Dame Church stayed open for 24 hours in observance of the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, to give people a chance to reflect and grieve and pray, said Rev. Anthony Randazzo. On Sunday evening, worshippers from different faiths sat in the church's pews and offered each other a handshake of peace—some saying, "Peace be with you," others saying, "Shalom."
A Flag of Honor, containing a list of nearly 3,000 names of the people who perished on 9/11, hung on the altar of the church during the service.
Rev. Stephanie Wethered, rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Essex Fells, led the prayer for the people, calling for religions to preach "peace, forgiveness and reconciliation" and for nations to "join hands and seek the way of peace together."
Rabbi Alan Silverstein of Congregation Agudath Israel of West Essex, Caldwell, read a passage from the Book of Isaiah that urged people to, "Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good."
Cantor Joel Caplan sang a traditional memorial prayer in Hebrew that Silverstein translated, which asked that the victims from Sept. 11 find rest in paradise, receive shelter in the embrace of God, and that their souls be given eternal life.
Sahin read passages from the Koran that said righteousness shall be given to those who do good deeds. After the service, those who attended were invited to stay for light refreshments.
Markay ended his remarks with the words of Bishop Desmond Tutu, "Goodness is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death; victory is ours through God who loves us."