Finding Faith on Sept. 11

For many, out of the darkness of the attacks, came the connection between the tragedy and religious faith.

Sept. 11, 2001 was a Tuesday.

That Sunday, Bert James (seated at the left in this photo) went looking for a place to pray. He found the Epiphany Episcopal Church in Odenton.

“We were looking for some place to worship, and my wife said, ‘There’s a little church that I often pass. Let’s try it.’ And we’ve been here ever since," he said. "It’s like a magnet. The culture, the atmosphere, the worship and the fellowship have been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.”

In this photo, James is chatting with Jim Conboy, who was baptized at Epiphany Episcopal in 1923.

Inspired by the events of Sept. 11, the two men helped guide a restoration of the church, which is the only known chapel left from World War I. In 1918, the church helped house soldiers and chaplains being deployed to the European battlefield through Camp Meade.

“It was very much like 9/11, because civilians were trying to figure out how to help,” said Phebe McPherson, the church’s rector.

The events of 9/11 led many Americans to turn to local churches and synagogues. Others found comfort in community groups, sports teams or clubs.

Out of the darkness of 9/11 came a renewed sense of community and the bonds we have as Americans.


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