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9/11 in New York: Rev. K Karpen

The Rev. K Karpen remembers the beautiful blue sky over New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001. He also recalls the events of that day when his first thought was to open the doors of The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew near Ground Zero so that people would have a place to pray. Karpen recalls that the United Methodist St. Paul and St. Andrew became a gathering place for Christians, Jews, Muslims, and people of all faiths.

This video was produced by United Methodist Communications in Nashville, TN. Media contact is Joe Iovino.

This video was first posted on September 6, 2016.


The Rev. K Karpen, The Church of St. Paul and St. Andrew: People were coming in. They were looking for a place to wash up. They were looking for a place to just sit, looking for a place to pray.

We had this impromptu worship service that night with people from the synagogue that worships here in this space, people from our church, Muslim friends that we had made over the previous 10 years. I don’t know why they came. I’m not sure how the word really got out. But the word got out. So, there were hundreds and hundreds of people in here.

We had readings from the three faith groups for our worship. And I remember we looked around and the imam had not arrived yet to do the Muslim reading. So, I had a copy of the Holy Koran and so I got up and I did a reading. And it was the section where it talks about how somebody who has taken an innocent life, it’s as though they’ve killed all of humanity. And if you’ve saved an innocent life, it’s as if you’ve saved the world. So I shared that. And then somebody sitting next to my wife Charlene said, 'Oh, who was that nice Muslim man that did the reading?' And Charlene just smiled.

So, we were looking for words. We were looking to each other for words and prayers and so forth, all day long.

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