Diversity and unity celebrated at St. Louis memorial event
A time of diversity and unity marked this year's September 11th anniversary in St. Louis. Eden was among the sponsors of an event offered "...to allow reflection, express sorrow, and unify the communty in hope for peace." The Second Annual September 11th Memorial in Music: an Appreciation of Religious Diversity took place on Sunday, September 9 at the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis.
The program included the music of internationally known soprano Christine Brewer, with a keynote speech by Professor Gerald Early. Dr. Early, Professor of English and of African and Afro-American Studies, also serves as Director of the Center for Humanities and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at Washington Unviersity. He is a noted essayist and American culture critic.
A highlight of the evening came as those gathered joined together in singing, "God Bless America."
"Singing 'God Bless America' is always a little worrisome for me," said Eden President David Greenhaw. "I am afraid it blesses us at the expense of or exclusion of others. Usually I feel uneasy singing it. However, when I sang it in this crowd, with the full array of folks gathered here - Christians, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, young, old, black, white, Pakistani, Mexican, Indian, African, Bosnian, etc, all of us singing together, it was less a plea for blessing than it was an acknowledgment of the wonderful blessing of diversity God has already given us."
The program also featured the installation of a temporary interactive sculpture on Washington in front of the Sheldon, created by St. Louis artist Lyndsey Scott. Following the show, audience members had the opportunity to affix ribbons to the interactive sculpture as a physical sign of commitment to understanding, respecting and working for peace in the face of religious diversity.