Serving & Remembering on 9/11

By Matt Townsend

Just a few blocks from the World Trade Center in Manhattan, where more than 2,600 died that day, Trinity Church Wall Street withstood the horrors of the attack.

Even St. Paul’s Chapel, a Trinity building very close to the east side of the Twin Towers, escaped the attack and subsequent collapse of the towers without a broken window. The chapel served as a makeshift center of refuge for recovery workers and has become a popular place for memorials.

Mandy Culbreath, Trinity’s program coordinator for social outreach, said the parish has participated in events and interfaith observances of the anniversary in years past. This year, Trinity joins others in the day of service, also called Patriot Day, by integrating its daily brown-bag feeding ministry into the day’s events.

“Many of our members who usually pack non-perishables at church every Sunday will join a coalition of faith-based and civic organizations at Pier 36 in NYC on this special occasion,” Culbreath said by email. “All-day volunteers from roughly 30 organizations throughout the city will pack non-perishable packs for Feed the Children as part of the initiative.”

Trinity will also distribute some of these packed lunches at its usual 2 p.m. lunch service.

“In our Christian tradition, we understand holiness not only as piety and faith, but also as fruits of great love visible in service to others — ‘Loving your neighbor as yourself,’” Culbreath said. “September 11th as a day of service is one way to demonstrate our belief that serving others alongside someone of another faith is holy, too, and it can bring healing and wholeness in life, in our community.”

Other parishes around the country will mark the day with worship and service. About an hour from Washington, D.C. — where 125 died in 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon — St. James’ Church in Leesburg, Virginia, will hold an “Evensong Service of Remembrance.”

Christ Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will join forces with the Red Cross in a weekend of mission. And in Bar Harbor, Maine, church and community members will gather at St. Savior’s for reflection and remembrance.


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