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Published: Friday, 8/27/2010

Interfaith service has Labor Day themes


An interfaith pre-Labor Day prayer service is scheduled for Thursday night, seeking to revive Toledo's ailing economy.

"Given the state of the economy, we thought it was especially important to address that religiously, and at least pray about it," said the Rev. Martin Donnelly, pastor of Toledo's Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. "And we wanted to make a statement that we feel it is important that labor be respected and dignified, as it has been traditionally in this country."

The service will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Reformation Lutheran Church, 4543 Douglas Rd.

Baldemar Velasquez, founder of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, will give the keynote talk on "The State of Labor 2010."

Among the religious leaders scheduled to participate are Imam Farooq Abo-Elzahab of the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo; the Rev. Lilanthi Ward of Aldersgate United Methodist Church; Rabbi Moshe Saks of the B'nai Israel; the Rev. Linda Davison of Pathway Community Church, and Lucy Wayton of Crossroads Family Resource Center.

Meanwhile, hundreds of pastors, rabbis, and imams across the nation are planning to preach on work, economy, and justice issues over the Labor Day weekend as part of a "Labor in the Pulpits" program organized by the Chicago-based Interfaith Worker Justice group.

"Labor Day is a time for the religious community and the labor movement not only to celebrate working people and their contributions to society, but to remember the struggles that workers endured to achieve the many benefits we now enjoy but take for granted," Interfaith Worker Justice said in announcing the program.

Karen Krause, social justice chairman of the Toledo Area Jobs With Justice Coalition, will preach on health care and unemployment at Monroe Street United Methodist Church on Sept. 5.

A small but committed group of congregations in the Toledo area has supported worker justice issues for years, Ms. Krause said, but she is "thrilled" to see more religious groups getting together for Thursday's service.

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