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Peace Walk unites students, community members of different religions

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Students and community members of different religions and backgrounds gathered on Sept. 11 for the Interfaith Peace Walk, an annual event encouraging unity and understanding between faiths.

The United Campus Ministry held the event, which began at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. Evan Young, minister at the United Campus Ministry, kicked off the event by reflecting on the condition of peace in the U.S. He referenced Pope Paul VI, saying, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

“As many walks and marches, protests and actions and words that there have been advocating peace, still, there is no peace,” Young said.

The group traveled through Athens past places of worships for numerous religions and spoke of peace, unity and tolerance.

Ian Thompson, a fourth year sociology criminology major, said, “I believe that we are all human beings and we let these things, religion, ethnicity, origin, divide us. We are all people; we live on the same planet. We should be able to live side by side without any strife and fighting between us.”

The Rev. Rob Martin, pastor at Athens First Presbyterian Church, said he believes it is important to hold this event every year to encourage diversity.

“People with different faith traditions, backgrounds, cultures, can come together for a common purpose: peace, unity and hopefulness,” Martin said.

At Hillel at Ohio University, the group paused and said a prayer:

“Strengthen our common values of freedom and justice. Inspire our leaders and diplomats to act wisely and to pursue peace everywhere in the world… Bestow upon us all the blessings of peace, and may we live to see the day when swords will be converted into ploughshares and nations will not learn war anymore. And let us say, Amen.”

The marchers continued toward the Christ Lutheran Church. On the way, a young participant of the walk offered a peace sign to fraternity members while walking by and the spectators returned it, all holding a peace sign back. Once reaching the destination, the participants were greeted by singing from members of the church.

Finishing the walk, the participants ended at the Islamic Center with a candlelight vigil. Speaker Kashar said, “I pray that the tragedy of Sept. 11, and the tragedy of the terrible wars that happened after that, have taught us all that war and violence are not cause for peace and they will never bring peace. Peace can only be brought by people like you who are working hard with honesty and mutual respect, for dignity and justice for everybody in the entire world.”

The crowd finished the event by singing, “There is more peace, somewhere; I’m gonna keep on ‘til I find it. There is more peace somewhere.”

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