Monday, October 5, 2009

Interfaith gathering tackles city issue

Stephanie Veale
Staff writer, Rochester Democrat & Chronicle

The key to solving some of Rochester's most pernicious problems lies in increased collaboration across faith, racial and geographical boundaries, Episcopal Bishop Prince Singh said Sunday at an interfaith service downtown.

The service was part of the city's ongoing 175th anniversary celebration. Singh, who is bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, addressed a crowd of about 50 at the Episcopal Church of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene on South Fitzhugh Street. Scriptures from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, and Christian traditions and a Buddhist prayer were read aloud.

Participants also prayed together for the city's leaders, firefighters, police officers, young people and others.

Rochesterians from different parishes and faiths must cooperate to "dream the city," said the Rev. Michael Hopkins, rector at St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene.

"There can be no place for negative energy in the remaking of the city," Hopkins said. "In the end, it is not enough to dream justice. You have to work at it."

Singh said faith communities need to cooperate in tackling poverty, racism, violence and deficiencies in the education system. More frequent meetings would help accomplish this.

"We need to do more than just pray," Singh said.

Yvonne and Chris Cleveland of Gates were among those who attended the service. Chris Cleveland is a member of St. Luke & St. Simon Cyrene; he and his wife used to live in the city in the Goodman Street/Park Avenue area.

Solving city problems is not just up to city residents, Chris Cleveland said. The whole metro area is interconnected, and "the city is the heart of that region," he said. "There needs to be more working together."

Additional Facts If you go

What: "One City, Many Faiths, One Hope," a faith-based conference.
When: Oct. 14.
Where: Hyatt Regency Rochester, 125 E. Main St.
Cost: $25 per person. Registration required.
For more: Call 311 in the city or (585) 428-5990 outside the city, or go to


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