Day of Prayer and Reflection is Sunday

Going into its third year, Lawrence’s Day of Prayer and Reflection might not be a huge religious rally.The convocation in South Park – where people of all faiths are encouraged to gather and talk about how their beliefs can help those in need – has drawn only about 20 people each of the past two years.But Steve Ozark, coordinator of the Lawrence Community InterFaith Initiative, which organizes the event, says he hopes people take time to think about the less fortunate quietly on their own – even if they decide not to gather with others.”The important message is that everyone in Lawrence can think about, reflect, meditate or pray on this day however each of us chooses,” Ozark says. “Everything that has ever happened in the world began with a thought, and many people focusing on the same issue together can be a very strong agent for change. Even more so with prayer.”Specifically for the InterFaith Initiative, the group is looking for ways to help the poor in Lawrence. It has worked on emergency provisions, homeless issues and affordable housing.Those participating in the Day of Prayer and Reflection, which is Sunday, are asked to participate with their own faith communities over the weekend. Then, they can attend a 3 p.m. convocation Sunday at South Park.Several local leaders will speak on poverty issues, and then those in attendance can share their own thoughts on the day as well.”People speak their heart,” Ozark says. “I find it very inspiriting and motivating to keep moving forward in prayer and action.”Ozark offers this assessment of why it’s important for people of different faiths to interact on these issues:”By wrestling with the inadequacies and the injustices many people suffer here locally, we acknowledge that there is a need for change in our community where oftentimes people with wants are being put ahead of people who need, who strive just to survive.”It is also healthy for us to get beyond our comfort zones, to come together with people we don’t know from different faith experiences. I find it very valuable to meet and listen to people whose experiences are outside of my own faith journey.”Many people find this intimidating or uncomfortable, but it’s not when we have the purpose of fulfilling what all religions and faith teachings I’ve ever seen emphasize – to love your neighbor, to be charitable and to help those in need.”_ – Faith Files, which examines issues of faith, spirituality, morals and ethics, is updated by features/faith reporter Terry Rombeck. Have an idea for the blog? Contact Terry at, or 832-7145._