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Prayer service on 1-year anniversary of riots

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Posted at 7:42 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 23:26:00-04
Members of the city's clergy and the community came together to heal Monday night.  
 
The event was called "One Baltimore, From Hope to Wholeness."  It was a time to remember what happened a year ago when riots surrounding Freddie Gray's death broke out.  And through faith, it offered an outlet to a city still reeling from them.

"We want to pray, open up our hearts to God and to each other so that we may come together," Archbishop William Lori said.

"The important thing is that we understand that we are one Baltimore," said Imam Earl El-Amin of the Muslim Community Culture Center.
 
"Our message tonight is one of hope and unity and one that we hope will lead to wholeness," Rabbi Steven Fink of Temple Oheb Shalom said.
 
The clergy varied from Muslim to Jewish to Catholic. They view God and spirituality in different ways, but maintain that religion is a unifier, not a separator. 
 
"When we come together like this and we recognize how many people  across denominational lines,
across political lines,  across many lines, are thinking and praying about the same thing," Lori said.
 
"It's so important to bring every aspect of our community together, all denominations to remember the plight of Baltimore," Fink said.
 
Monday's service brought together clergy and the public, the same day, a year ago, when riots, unrest and chaos broke out in the city's streets.
 
It was not about forgetting what happened last year, but about allowing for healing, faith and unity to fill the gap many still feel.
 
"Forgetting  Freddie Gray and forgetting the unrest of a year ago means forgetting the ungoing systemic problems in our city," Lori said.
 
"It was such a disturbing time in Baltimore and so many riots and things going on that I think this is, it can bring a lot of peace to know that there's so many people of faith trying to help," Baltimore resident Jessica Sedgewick said.
 
The service was meant to bring hope into a city that many say feels hopeless and the clergy saw they're leading by example.
 
"Given the kinds of problems we have, I think there's a need for us to network more, to collaborate more, to bring our resources together for the good of our more challenged neighborhoods," Lori said.
 
Equality was also a strong theme, and those in attendance were touched by the message they took away.
 
"This is a really good opportunity to come to something different that  I've never done before and it's really so inspiring to see so many churches just gathered together and uniting for peace in Baltimore," Sedgewick said.
 
"Theres a saying in the Muslim scripture, the Koran, after the difficulties comes the relief," El-Amim said. 
 
 

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