The lanterns from the OneLight celebration, distributed during a service of remembrance for those who died Sept. 11 and as a show of interfaith unity—continue to illuminate temples and churches in and around the Southland.
One day after the Sept. 10 service that drew 1,500 people of faith to the steps of the Los Angeles City Hall, Imam Yassir Fazaga of the Orange County Islamic Foundation, led the procession at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Laguna Beach, bearing the lantern.
In another show of interfaith unity, a rabbi led the procession at St. Mark’s Church in Altadena with the lantern.
On Friday, Sept. 16, a OneLight lantern was used during Shabbat services at the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, and the Self-Realization Fellowship also used the lanterns at its Sept. 11 memorial events at the Hollywood Temple and the Mother Center in Mount Washington.
At St. Mary’s, the congregation has created a permanent space for the lantern inside the sanctuary, according to the Rev. Elizabeth Rechter, the congregation’s rector.
The intention is to incorporate the lantern in both opening and closing processions and as part of the congregation’s ongoing study of world religions, she said.
“We were studying Islam on Sept. 11,” Rechter said. Together, Fazaga and Justin Fleming Powell, the church’s designated lantern-bearer, processed into the church bearing the light.
“Afterwards the imam said a prayer to begin the service,” added Rechter. “The plan is to do that each Sunday,” with representatives from each of the faith groups and world religions the congregation is examining.
Participating in the interfaith conversation “which I would call a movement, is vital because fundamentally, when we look at other faiths we learn more about who God is from different perspectives, which enriches our own understanding of who God is and helps us to understand better our own faith,” Rechter added. “We engage in this conversation that we always bring with us, our own understanding and so it challenges it or affirms it. Within that process we strengthen the reason why we feel called to faith we’re called to.”
“It is participating in peacemaking as well. It’s a peacemaker’s work to show up and engage these relationship,” she said.
The congregation hopes to add a youth program as well.
“We’re trying to reach out for relationship and not just knowledge and are hoping that our youth might be one of the avenues to do that,” she said.