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Memorial services

Churches, other groups make plans to comfort following national tragedy

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In a special memorandum to LDS leaders in the United States, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has asked that sacrament meeting services on Sept. 16 become "essentially a memorial service and a time for expressions of faith in the atoning sacrifice of the Son of God, which extends to all men."

The First Presidency asks that prayers, songs and talks reflect sorrow for those who have lost loved ones, and the promise of immortality that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Other faiths are also restructuring schedules and sermons in order to minister to the sense of tragedy gripping the nation.

Pastor Mike Gray of the Southeast Baptist Church will sound a theme that will be resonating in many congregations.

"Our morning service will focus on 'love in a world of hate,' " he said. "We will also have a prayer service Sunday night (6 p.m.). The music will reflect the same theme — 1 Corinthians 13 — the love chapter."

The entire Circuit Assembly of the Jehovah's Witnesses will meet at the Dee Events Center in Ogden Sunday. Keith Janus is the overseer of the assembly.

"Our theme will be 'Fear God and Give Him Glory,' " Janus said, "and I'm sure there will be remarks about the recent tragedy. Our headquarters are in New York City and I'm hearing that a couple of hundred of our members worked in the World Trade Center."

Even smaller congregations will sound similar themes.

"I don't usually prepare a sermon beforehand," said Rev. Richard Mendez of the Holy Spirit Episcopal Church in Randlett, Uintah County. "But I know this is something I will be addressing."

Other congregations, including the Calvary Baptist Church and several Catholic parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City, say their Sunday services will reflect the pain and anguish — as well as the hope — stirred by this week's terrorist attack.

First United Methodist Church, 203 S. 200 East, will have a service of prayer for hope and peace on Sunday from 5 to 6 p.m. The public is welcome.

Several prayer and candlelight vigils are also planned earlier than Sunday.

The Associated Students of the University of Utah will hold a candlelight vigil Thursday at 8:30 p.m. on the steps of the Park Building in President's Circle (University Street and 200 South).

Gov. Mike Leavitt and University of Utah President Bernie Machen will join ASUU leaders as well as leaders from various faiths and community organizations, students, faculty and staff.

Anyone in the community is welcome to attend and encouraged to bring candles as a symbol of remembrance of the victims of Tuesday's terrorist acts. Music department students will offer musical numbers as the candles are lit.

The Associated Students of Utah State University in Logan will hold a public candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Thursday on the university quad.

Featured speakers for the "For Hope and Healing" program include ASUSU President Steve Palmer and USU President Kermit Hall. The program will also include music.

Another candlelight vigil and prayer session will be held in the Salt Lake Community College Redwood Road Campus Amphitheater Thursday at 8 p.m. The public is invited, and the Vietnam Veterans Wall Traveling exhibit will also be displayed nearby.

A memorial service and monument dedication for those who lost their lives in the attack on America will be staged Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 Highland Drive.

This event is open to the public and will especially honor those policemen and firemen who died in New York.

Contributing: Lynn Arave

E-mail: jerjohn@desnews.com