Message of peace spread through music and words

October 08, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - "It's in everyone of us to be wise. Find your heart. Open up both your eyes."

The lyrics in the song by the band "Singin' the Bones" was one of many cast out across the crowd at the Presbyterian Meeting House Sunday night.

The words were sent in hopes of affecting change in a sometimes cruel world.

People of various religions gathered at the church along Washington Street Sunday night to pray for peace in the world.

There is plenty to be concerned about in the Middle East, given the war in Iraq and other tensions, but Sunday's event was meant to center attention on just about anything wrong in the world, according to Randy Tremba, pastor of the church.

Tremba spoke out against animals that are incarcerated and coldly slaughtered and people who are tormented because of their class, race or sexual preference.


Tremba also sought to bring attention to the mountains of West Virginia.

Mountaintop removal mining has been a controversial issue in the state and the topic shows up periodically in the form of a political bumper sticker in town.

Questioned about the Iraq war before the service, Tremba said many people are troubled over how it began and how it was managed.

"Americans think it's a mess," Tremba said.

There might be plenty to worry about in the world, but the musicians and dozens of people who participated in the PeaceFest did their best to send out positive vibes.

It felt like a throwback to the 1960s at times, with bands playing Beatles numbers like "Here Comes the Sun" and other songs like Bob Marley's "One Love."

At times, the event sounded like a music concert as much as a service, with spectators whooping and cheering the bands.

"This is not you're everyday church service," guitarist Greg Lloyd told the crowd.

At the close of the ceremony, those in the crowd were handed balls of colored ribbon. They were encouraged to take an end of the ribbon and pass it on.

The various strands of ribbon zig-zagged through the crowd, and strands dangled from a balcony above.

After the ribbon was firmly entangled in the crowd, spectators were told to hold it up as they joined with musicians in singing the Beatles song "All You Need is Love."

The event was also meant to pay tribute to St. Francis of Assisi, a Roman Catholic friar who lived between 1181 and 1226.

Assisi was the patron saint of animals, birds and the environment, and he believed that the world was made good and beautiful by God. But Assisi believed the world suffered a need for redemption because of the primordial sin of man.

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