North Park University Commemorates Tenth Anniversary of 9/11

Old Main at North Park University

University community offers perspectives, plans special worship

CHICAGO (Sept. 9, 2011) — North Park University will commemorate the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States with worship and other remembrances. In addition, the University posted on its website written reflections by members of the University community, focusing on the meaning of that tragic day then and now.

The University will participate in the U.S. Senate’s call for a national “Moment of Remembrance,” September 11, at 1:00 pm EDT (Noon CDT), by tolling its campus bells. The Senate resolution asks all Americans to “stop and remember” those who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and passengers and crew who died in a commercial airliner brought down in a Pennsylvania field to prevent further attacks.

University Ministries’ College Life service September 11, at 7:30 pm in Anderson Chapel, will feature a time of prayer for people affected by the events of September 11, 2001, said Nathan Albert, College Life coordinator. Participants will also be able to fill out “I will” commitment cards — similar to the commitment they can make on http://www.911day.org — pledging how they will pay tribute to 9/11 victims, survivors, and those who served in response to the attacks. Cards will be attached to models of the former World Trade Center Towers, Albert said.

North Park student leaders, in collaboration with the 2011-2012 Interfaith Campus Ambassadors, are planning an interfaith memorial service, September 15, at 5:30 pm at the University’s Anderson Chapel. The service will honor Christians, Muslims, and Jews, providing an opportunity to share their memories of 9/11. Participants will discuss how those events brought greater understanding, dialogue and intentional relationships to their lives today. Scriptures will be read from the Christian and Hebrew bibles, and the Quran, and there will be prayer. Rev. Judy Peterson, North Park campus pastor, will lead the service.

Seven people from the University community wrote reflections and commentaries posted on the North Park website about the tenth anniversary, and how things have changed in the world since 2001. Those who wrote were Dr. David L. Parkyn, North Park University president; Megan Gilmore, North Park freshman student in 2001, now with University Marketing and Communications; Dr. Helen Hudgens, associate professor of music; the Rev. Dr. Rajkumar Boaz Johnson, professor of biblical and theological studies; the Rev. Judy Peterson, campus pastor; Prof. Anis Said, lecturer in Arabic language; and the Rev. Dr. Michelle Clifton-Soderstrom, associate professor of theology and ethics.

In his commentary, Parkyn wrote that people’s thoughts about the anniversary are rightly on both the past and the future. He commented that “the quality of our lives in every tomorrow depends on succeeding generations of Americans and citizens worldwide who shoulder responsibility for both yesterday and tomorrow.”

Making a real difference in life may require a new way of acting, Parkyn wrote. “We cannot know how to make a difference if we do not imagine a new way of acting. And we cannot imagine a new way of acting if we know only our own experience, if we sense only our own pain and sorrow, if we celebrate only our own joy and abundance,” he stated.

Parkyn argued that Chicago is an “edge-habitat,” where people cross borders and encounter others. “While conflict, misunderstanding, and violence may occur in such places, Parkyn wrote that edge-habitats “hold promise for transforming swords into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks, as imagined by the Hebrew prophet Isaiah.”

The interconnectedness North Park students, faculty, and staff experience with their immigrant neighbors in Chicago “tears down the border walls stone by stone, prompting the edge-habitat to teem with life — a life in which we can imagine a world of understanding over misunderstanding, of care for another’s life as much as care for my own, of bringing peace on earth and good will to all.”

“By knowing our neighbors in Chicago’s global village we will learn how to act so as to make a real difference,” Parkyn added.

For further information or resources, contact John Brooks, Director of Media Relations and News, via email or at (773) 244-5522. Learn more about North Park University.

Next Steps

Read reflection essays written by faculty and staff for the anniversary of 9/11.