Finding Hope in the Holy: A Faithful Response to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Gwynne Guibord, service for many faiths

The Rev. Gwynne Guibord could not take her eyes off the burning towers when she saw 9/11 unfolding on television. “It was a moment of abject horror,” she says.

And it hit home. As a consultant for the Episcopal church for interreligious relations, she often traveled from her home in Los Angeles to Boston, taking the same flight home that carried the terrorists. She watched the dark, billowing smoke and thought, “There but for the grace of God go I.”

Guibord worried that Americans would seek revenge. It didn’t take long.

On Sept. 15, Balbir Singh Sodhi became the nation’s first post-9/11 victim of a hate crime. Wearing a long beard and turban, as prescribed by his Sikh faith, he was gunned down in Mesa, Ariz. His killer told police he was lashing out at “Arabs” after watching the twin towers collapse over and over again on TV. Singh Sodhi was born in Punjab, India.

Guibord is still saddened recalling that hate crime and others that followed. Her response: to bring together people of different faiths. Her non-profit Guibord Center is holding an eight-faith service on 9/11 called Finding Hope in the Holy, at St. John’s Episcopal Cathedral in Los Angeles. It will involve Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Bahai’i and indigenous faiths.

As printed in the August 8, 2011 edition of USA Today
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