The Putnam Examiner

Interfaith World Peace Prayer Service Held in Kent

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World PeaceOver 200 people of various faiths joined together for the annual New Year’s Interfaith Prayer for World Peace at Chuang Yen Monastery in Kent on Jan. 1.

The service was led a dozen religious leaders and local officials. Many attendees where coming to grips with the tragic events that the area has endured over the past year—most recently the damage of Hurricane Sandy and the massacre of the 27 people in the neighboring community of Newtown, Conn.

“After reflecting on Hurricane Sandy and the tragic event that took place in Newtown at Sandy Hook Elementary school, I knew I needed to be around spiritual leaders that would restore my faith for the new year,” said Geri Munnick of Carmel. “I enjoyed the holidays with both my children, but was sad and thought about those children and families affected all day.”

The clergy members spoke of love, acceptance and the need to find inner peace.  Elements which are all needed before there could be world peace.

Ven. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, a Japanese Buddhist priest, led the group in mediation and the monks of CYM performed a song.

Cantor Rena Shapiro of Temple Beth-El in Brewster reference the television how Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. “With all the news coverage of what was going on the only thing that I found that was comforting was this quotation from Mr. Rogers,” she said. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news.  My mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted to know that there are still so many helpers; so many caring people in this world.”

Following the service, Munnick said that she felt recharged. “It was by far a most beautiful and spiritual event,” she said.

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