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In 1996, some religious leaders in South Carolina asked faith groups to observe a "Sabbath of Support" in recognition of the numerous church burnings in the US. Over 400 South Carolina churches, mosques, synagogues and temples observed this special Sabbath; they were joined by groups in at least 8 other states.

In 1997, the Sabbath of Support was again observed during the service which preceding JUL-4, the American Independence Day. The Sabbath of Support Project of the South Carolina Christian Action Council wrote the following responsive reading. It was distributed to the Baha'i, Christian (Episcopal, Lutheran, Quaker, Roman Catholic, United Methodist,) Hindu, Muslim, and Unitarian Universalist faith communities.

The Council writes: "Every section and neighborhood of our country suffers the evils of violence and division. The communities of faith can lead the way to healing. We encourage the lifting of love over hate, unity over division, and faith over evil."

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bullet Leader: Gracious God, we thank you for making one human family of all the peoples of the Earth and for creating all the wonderful diversity of races and cultures.
bullet People: Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship and show us your presence in those who differ most from us.
bullet Leader: Forgive those of us who have been silent and apathetic in the face of racial intolerance and bigotry, both overt and subtle, public and private.
bullet People: And take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts.
bullet Leader: Break down the walls that separate us.
bullet People: And help us to find that unity which is the fruit of righteousness and which will enable us to become your beloved community.
bullet Leader: Empower us to speak boldly for justice and truth and help us to deal with one another without hatred or bitterness, working together with mutual forbearance and respect.
bullet People: And work through our struggles and confusion to accomplish your purposes in our land so that we may be one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Lead me from Death to Life, from Falsehood to Truth,
Lead me from Despair to Hope, from Fear to Trust,
Lead me from Hate to Love, from War to Peace,
Let Peace fill our Heart, our World, our Universe.

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bullet Julia Sibley at the South Carolina Christian Action Council at (803) 786-7115 or at [email protected] 

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