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Letter: Local Clergy Help Comfort Community at Interfaith Service

Rev. Julie Wakelee-Lynch shares the turnout of Thursday's clergy-led Interfaith Service offered to the community in light of last week's events revolving around the James Izumizaki case.

A diverse team of local clergy led an Interfaith Service for Healing and Comfort that drew over 250 people to the Albany Veteran’s Memorial Building Thursday evening

The gathering included brief reflections on themes of confusion and unsettledness, anger, grief, loss of trust and the pull toward hope. 

Mary Stocker, Director of Vocal Music at Albany High School and Albany Middle School, provided music, and the evening concluded with a litany for healing for all segments of the community, followed by candle-lighting and the opportunity for one-on-one and small group conversations. 

Many participants lingered to discuss the challenging mix of feelings and responses arising last week revolving around the James Izumizaki case.

Reflecting on grief, Rabbi Yoel Kahn offered helpful guidelines for times of loss.

“Just because you are grieving and hurting, you don’t get to do the stuff that you aren’t supposed to do," he said. "You don’t get permission during this time of grief to stop showing respect; you don’t get permission because you’re grieving and mad to hurt yourself or others or things; even if we stop ‘moving forward’ to regroup and grieve, we don’t go backwards and destroy.”

Convened at the invitation of AMS Principal Peter Parenti, participating clergy included:

  • Maggied Jhos Singer and Cantor Julie Batz Coastside Jewish Community
  • The Rev. Julie Wakelee-Lynch, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Albany
  • The Revs. Sharon Lee MacArthur, Kevin Omi, and Koji Sahara, Sycamore
  • Congregational United Church of Christ, El Cerrito
  • Rabbi Yoel Kahn, Temple Beth El, Berkeley
  • Rev. Mary Ellen Azada, First Presbyterian Church, Berkeley
  • The Rev. Gerald Chinen, Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church 
  • The Rev. Thomas Cullen, Church on the Corner, Albany
  • Pastor Kevin Knox, Mosaic Bay Community, Albany 
  • Fr. Bernard Campbell, Catholic Newman Center, Berkeley
  • Shaykh Yassir Chadly, Mosque Masgid Al Iman, Oakland

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