Religious Groups Gather in Solidarity

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EUGENE, Ore. — The tragic Sikh shooting in Wisconsin is still fresh in many people’s minds, especially for one local organization that has been continually working to bring religious groups together.

The service held Saturday night at First Christian Church on Oak Street was not your average church service. That night, the pews were filled with people of many different beliefs that shared one common goal.

“We believe that there are many things that divide us, but religion should not be one of them,” said Bill Harris, Interfaith Prayer Service International Board President.

The shooting in Wisconsin that left six Sikh worshipers dead hit close to home for this community of believers and reminds them of how the group got started in the first place.

“We all remember the tragedy that occurred on September 11th of 2001. Members of the Sikh community approached an interfaith group here in Eugene and requested that we do a monthly service,” said Harris.

Their hope was that by providing an opportunity for religious groups to gather, there could be understanding. In turn that understanding could breakdown any walls that would otherwise lead to violence or terror. Though the service is held monthly, this one was especially unique.

“This is the first event that we’ve had that focuses on sacred art,” said event coordinator Mirtza Griffin.

Saturday the church stage was covered in art, something that organizers believe anyone can relate to.

Griffin said, “Art is universal and I think that art is a modality that allows and facilitates healing.”

Healing is something coordinators said the world needs.

“Religion is originally about having a connection with something that’s higher, that connects us to each other in a way that brings about harmony and peace. That needs to be restored in our society and that view needs to be healed,” said Griffin.

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