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Fort Wayne sets faith celebration

FORT WAYNE – Sounding as much like a religious leader as a politician and civil servant, Mayor Tom Henry on Tuesday called people of all faiths in Fort Wayne to prayer on what he called “the many challenges that are facing our city, our state and our country.”

In a news conference in the mayor’s office, Henry was flanked by a Christian minister, an Islamic imam and a university teacher of religious studies when he announced a May 5 event that will include prayers, singing, dances and readings from eight religious traditions represented in the city – Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism, Unitarian-Universalism and the Baha’i faith.

“Prayers for the City – A Celebration of One Community, Many Faiths” would be “very unique in the city that’s never been done before,” Henry said.

He said the last time something similar occurred was after the Sept. 11 attacks when then-Mayor Graham Richard asked for prayers for victims and families in New York and elsewhere.

This is “the first time to pray for our city in general,” Henry said, adding that among the challenges calling for prayer are the still-struggling economy and concerns about crime.

The celebration is at 4 p.m. at Scottish Rite Center, 431 W. Berry St. It is free and open to the public.