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A Gathering For Peace

An inter-faith gathering will be held in Cathedral Square on Friday at 5pm to pray for peace and reconciliation following the attacks on Washington and New York last week.

Christchurch's Mayor Garry Moore said today that the gathering would be a time to pray for reconciliation and peace, with Christians, Muslims and Jews of Christchurch attending. "The key thing which this city must be supporting right now is that justice is seen to be done but the world does not descend into the pits of retribution and retaliation," Mr. Moore said.

For America to bomb innocent people would be just as wrong as the injustice done to the American people last week, he said. "It's important that all faiths join together to pray, in their own ways, for peace, justice and reconciliation," Mr. Moore said. A former moderator of the Presbyterian Church, the Very Rev Bruce Hansen, said the gathering arose when a group from the three faiths "came together and asked whether something could be done in this city."

From 11am to 6pm on Friday a petition will be available for signing in the Square calling for the Government to consider ways in which these issues might be addressed helpfully and constructively and not reactively and destructively. Christchurch citizens are being invited to join the 5pm gathering where the Mayor and other representatives will speak. The gathering will bring together people from the three faiths and from the Israeli, Arab and Western nations.

Mr. Hansen said the assembly would be an observance and an expression of "our concern in this city."

"People are invited to share their concern about a reaction of retaliation and revenge rather than seeking a way forward with justice and reconciliation and where we learn to live together as a world community," Mr. Hansen said.

"We must begin that move in our own community. The gathering will be more than just inter-faith but also the community of Christchurch expressing inclusiveness of all our traditions," he said.

Further information: Mayor Garry Moore: 371 1558 and the Rev Bruce Hansen, Knox Presbyterian Church: 355 8728 or 379 2456, Rev Dr Margaret Mayman: 348 6418.

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