Religious leaders from throughout North America participated both in-person and online.
His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, reflected on the systemic racism in the USA.
"In the United States, where the illness of systemic racism still calls for remedy, naming our Christian responsibility to ‘to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God’ (Micah 6:8)—and committing to it—not only aligns us with our righteous and merciful Lord, but better prepares us to make true Christian witness here,” he said. “And in this sacred Shrine to St Nicholas, whose very rebuilding is a testament to the power of love over hatred, we were reminded of the value, and the possibility, of working together to create a more just world, where all can live freely without fear, and in harmony with each other.”
Rev. Dr Angelique Walker-Smith, World Council of Churches president from North America, reflected on the deep meaning of the service.
“The service was held in a beautifully renewed and rebuilt sacred space and place that was shadowed by the injustice of the tragic loss of precious lives that perished in 2001,” she said. “As Christian leaders in North America and globally, we gathered together in the holiness of prayer, lament and hope.”
The remembrance of the ancestors of the 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA, and the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity theme of ""Do good; seek justice,” from Isaiah 1:17, invited the stories of other injustices, faith, and hope, noted Walker-Smith.
“This included the remembrances of African peoples and Indigenous communities in North America and globally,” she said. “I was honored to share a remembrance that witnessed to God's grace and the resilience and resolve from the peoples' stories of ‘doing good and seeking justice’ alongside other timely presentations. The memorable evening reflected a welcoming spirit of Christian hospitality for all gathered.”