“We think that we have something to model to the rest of our community,” said Gail Anderson, “if the religious community can come together in this way, it’s possible for all of us to come together.”
Anderson is the Director of Unity and Relationships at the Minnesota Council of Churches, which is an organization bringing together mainline Protestant denominations. The Minnesota Council of Churches is one of about 19 religious groups organizing Minnesotans Standing Together. The event, which is taking place on the state capitol mall will commemorate the tenth anniversary of 9/11.
“It’s a very diverse gathering of people that is presenting this,” said Anderson, whose job at the Minnesota Council of Churches is to further interfaith understanding. “I think it’s a reflection of Minnesota and I think it’s a celebration of what Minnesota can be at its best.”
Christian/Muslim Blood Drive – Brooklyn United Methodist Church, Brooklyn Center, MN
Minnesota Public Radio special programming including stories of lost family and friends, a look at life in New York immediately after, and a look at 9/11 through the eyes of young people.
Songs of Hope concert, Basilica of St. Mary (September 10th)
Civic commemoration of remembrance, “including law enforcement and “emergency personnel” Cathedral of St. Paul
Public Safety Agency Observance – Minneapolis Convention Center
The planning for this event began with the Twin Cities Interfaith Network, which does work with religious leaders to further interfaith understanding. Anderson explained that the network “realized that when the tenth anniversary of 9/11 was approaching that it would raise up a lot of emotions in people, so we thought that we should gather as a religious community.”
“In times of trauma or loss, many of us turn to religious rituals or services to help us through those times,” Anderson said. “That is what we have crafted here.”
Though the event is being spearheaded by an organization made up of mainly Protestant denominations, Anderson was adamant about the fact that it’s intentionally diverse. Some of the 15 religious traditions being represented at this ceremony are Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, other Christian denominations, and Hinduism.
The event is broken up into three sections: remembrance, honoring, and hope/healing. The first section will remember all of those who died on 9/11 by having their names read. The second section will include a speech delivered by Gov. Mark Dayton, and will honor first responders and members of the military who have fought in wars post-9/11. The final section, which is focused on healing and hope, will feature a performance by hip-hop artist Brother Ali, and will be, as Anderson stated, “a little bit more upbeat. My hope is that people will leave inspired. That the burden that they may have come here with is lifted.”
Minnesotans Coming Together will take place Sunday September 11 on the mall of the State Capitol from 2-4 p.m., with a pre-ceremony performance by a string orchestra starting at 1 p.m.