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Churches Rethink 9/11



Each year on 9/11, people recall the horror of the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001, but also the heroism of those who tried to help those trapped in the towers. In this UMTV encore from 2011, one community near Chicago decided to reclaim the day as a day of hope and to honor first responders with an activities fair and opportunities to be in service. It also was a chance to rethink church.

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(Locator: Park Ridge, Illinois)

Al Bartel: "This is Hope Fest 2011 and it's a day to reclaim 9/11 as a day of hope. It's also a day to honor our first responders, who stand up and protect us every day."

Announcer: "We have gathered this morning as a community."

The Rev. Rich Darr, First United Methodist Church, Park Ridge: "I'm Pastor Rich Darr. I'm lead pastor at First United Methodist Church in Park Ridge. As a church what made us want to do this is, we wanted to really get out into our community, get outside the walls literally."

Carol Hill: "It's really important in Hope Fest 2011 that we reach out and serve others, by giving blood, donating blood, which saves lives through our CPR classes so that we're ready. If something happens, we can be there. We are reaching out to our first responders by providing them with thank you gift bags to tell them that we know that they are serving us and that we appreciate what they do."

Alice Crawford: "We bagged cookies. We included them with a prayer square, then there were cards that were added to the bags too. They're always around for us when we need them. It's kind of nice to return the favor and tell them how much they're appreciated."

(Rifle sound) Aim! Fire!

The Rev. Rich Darr: "Park Ridge Fire Department was able to requisition a piece of steel, 200 lbs., six foot, I-beam from the World Trade towers."

Jeff Sorensen: "I think that piece of steel, it's something tangible. okay. It's not in a text book, it's not something we're just telling them. They can go up to it. We encourage them to touch it and take a moment and think about what happened to our country."

David Dalberg, Salvation Army: "The reality today is it was a very hands-on day for everyone, both for kids and adults alike. Kids had a great opportunity to experience as an example firefighters and policemen firsthand in their vehicles and their equipment."

(Adults help kids into helicopter) "Watch your head and watch, don't trip over that stuff. Good brother. See up there, watch your head. Watch your feet."

Joey Homberg: "The fire department has a trailer over there. There's a room filled with fog and you practice getting out of your room if there is a fire."

The Rev. Rich Darr: "Well, spiritually this is a huge day for me. I think one of the major ways that I connect with God is in service and outreach."

David Dalberg: "We can't be bound by our building and by our chapels, by our churches. We have to step out into the real world and live our faith day by day. "

Carol Hill: "To be in relationship in new places and meet new people in a way that they haven't met before, it's a new way of being. It's a new way of being church. It's a new way of thinking about who we are."

Al Bartel: "That whole idea of "Open heart. Open Minds. Open doors." is an adjective. When we engage in the community and use open as a verb it takes on a whole different meaning."


For more information about Hope Fest 2011, contact any of these United Methodist churches:

First United Methodist Church of Park Ridge
418 Touhy Avenue
Park Ridge, IL 60068

First United Methodist Church of Des Plaines
668 Graceland Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60015

New Hope United Methodist Church
7115 W. Hood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60631

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Posted: September 15, 2011