Leaders: Draw lessons of hope, not hate, from 9/11

The day before the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, faith leaders met to encourage the Wichita community to be open-minded, not fearful or hateful, of those whose beliefs are different from theirs.

The Rev. Titus James said at a news conference at Inter-Faith Ministries on Friday that his faith requires him to love everyone — Christians, Jews and Muslims.

"As we remember this day of 9/11, please don't let the hope and tradition and love of our country cause us to express hatred," he said.

Inter-Faith Ministries sponsored the news conference as tensions ran high across the country with the Sept. 11 anniversary approaching.

Sue Castile, executive director of Inter-Faith Ministries, said people of faith can accomplish much by working together. She urged the community to show mutual respect for religious freedom.

"Imagine what we could all accomplish together if we were able to work across faiths" to serve those in need, Castile said.

Rabbi Michael Davis with Congregation Emanu-El encouraged the community to "stand with people of all faiths and traditions who are victims of bigotry and prejudice and hatred because we feel what they feel and they feel what we feel."

Dialogue across religious faiths is "our duty," said Mehmet Barut, a representative of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog and an associate professor at Wichita State University.

"It's our duty to make our world a more peaceful and safe place," he said.

The Rev. Don Olsen of Plymouth Congregational Church said all people of faith should strive "to the highest ideals."

University Congregational Church, 9209 E. 29th St., is sponsoring a "Prayers for Peace" service at 7 p.m. today.

Members of the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities will share scripture and prayers for understanding.

Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church, 655 S. Lorraine, is sponsoring its second annual Peace Festival from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. today.

The festival will include activities for children and storytelling.