Source: The Tidings
On August 25, 2006 The Tidings reported, "'How can the Holy Land be filled with peace when the nations and we, ourselves, have not been fully converted to peace?' asked Deacon Eric Stoltz at the opening of an Aug. 17 prayer service that brought together Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshippers to express a common hope for peace in the Mideast. Sponsored by the Wilshire Center Interfaith Council, the liturgy at St. Brendan Church in Los Angeles featured Scriptures read from the three traditions --- Jewish, Christian and Muslim --- which affirmed the universal human desire for peace, personally and in community. Rabbi Susan Laemmle, dean of religious life at the University of Southern California, read from the prophet Jeremiah in which he laments the pain in his heart on seeing a raging battle leave Israel in ruins. Rev. Charles Robertson, pastor of Wilshire Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles, recited the Beatitudes from the New Testament, and Father Alexei Smith, ecumenical and interreligious officer for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, led the Prayer of St. Francis. Jihad Turk, director of religious affairs for the Islamic Center of Southern California, said that unity could be forged by praying to God. 'We unite in invoking Him by His most beautiful names: the Compassionate, the Merciful, the Sustainer, the Just, the Loving, the Source of Guidance, the Source of Peace,' said Turk. 'We call on our Lord, God, Allah, not only to help us achieve peace here, in the Middle East and around the world, but also to give us the strength to endure the loss that we suffer'... Deacon Stoltz told The Tidings that the Aug. 17 prayer service in Los Angeles provided an outlet for people who feel powerless to end the violence. 'We set aside a special time to get together with others to pray,' said the deacon. 'If we truly believe in the power of prayer, that's an important thing to do.'"