People of different faiths gather to remember Katrina

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - It was a celebration of how people of different faiths can work together for the common good. An interfaith sunrise worship service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian recognized the impact that many religious groups have had in hurricane recovery.

Jews, Christians. Muslims and Hare Krishnas were at the sunrise worship service. All believers were welcome.

"That we all serve an awesome God," said Alice Graham, Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force. "We come to that service of God from different faith traditions. We're unified in that we serve a God that calls us all into community."

Religious leaders talked about how much of the credit for Katrina recovery in Mississippi goes to faith based organizations whose volunteers rebuilt houses and lifted spirits.

Lou Rizzardi is a former Pass Christian alderman and volunteer coordinator. "80, 90 percent of the folks that came into town were faith-based organizations," said Rizzardi. "No questions asked. Not asking for anything in return. Just the opportunity to serve and they were so wonderful. I do not think we would have accomplished what we did in the time that we did without their support. "

The worshipers' prayers also thanked God for lessons learned in their despair. For they say times of trouble strengthen their faith.

"To have a service where we really acknowledge the faith-based traditions and how these traditions have been the core of resiliency. That the faith-based traditions have been that resource that has nurtured us," said Graham.

The Mississippi Coast Interfaith Disaster Task Force and the Steps Coalition sponsored the sunrise service. Organizers said they've held the service every year since Katrina.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.