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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2005

‘A House United’ Interfaith Service Brings Distinct Faith Traditions Together to Celebrate the Dedication of the Presidential Museum
Governor Blagojevich Joins Religious Communities in Celebration

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich joined religious leaders from the Springfield community for ‘A House United’ Interfaith Service to celebrate the dedication of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum on Sunday, April 17, 2005.   The service brought together six distinct faith traditions including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Baha'i, Unitarian-Universalism, and Buddhist to signify the museum’s ability to be uniting force in the community.  
 
“As a people of diverse faith we came together on Sunday to celebrate the opening of an institution that will continue to unite us, both physically and emotionally through our historical past with the hope of reaching a greater understanding for the future,” said Gov. Blagojevich.  “It’s an honor for me to join faith communities from Springfield and beyond in celebrating such a historic event for the state of Illinois.”
 
“We are extremely grateful to the Springfield religious community for coming together to celebrate the life of Abraham Lincoln and the opening of this museum,” said Richard Norton Smith, the museum’s Executive Director.  “The Interfaith Service gave us an opportunity to reflect on the journey of a Springfield man who changed the direction of this country and will continue to bring us together through this institution.”
 
“The Greater Springfield Interfaith Association is pleased to be a part of the celebration of the dedication of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum,” said Pastor Kreston Lipscomb, President of the Greater Springfield Interfaith Association. “‘A House United,’ the theme for our Sunday afternoon service, reflects the diversity of faith traditions which have come together to honor Lincoln with song, prayers and words of gratitude; as well as President Lincoln's own belief that our nation could not be a house divided.  We are grateful for the participation of so many religious leaders and youth from the various faith traditions in this service.”
 
‘A House United’ Interfaith Service was an afternoon of music and prayers from religious traditions sponsored by the Greater Springfield Interfaith Association and the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  The service began at 2:00 p.m. and was free and open to the public. 
 
Participation in the Interfaith Service included:
 
Rev. Leslie Bradshaw – Unity Church of Practical Christianity
Rabbi Michael Datz - Temple B’rith Sholom
Mr. Rudy Davenport – Past Recipient of GSIA Humanitarian Award
Ms. Bonnie Ettinger - Music Director, Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation
Ms. Amina N. Everett - Springfield Baha'i Community
Ms. Char Fanning - Sangamon Zen Group
Rev. Clifford Hayes - First Presbyterian Church of Springfield
Rev. Jean Hembrough - Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church
Rev. Kevin Laughery - Ecumenical Officer, Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois
Ms. Mary Link - First Church of the Brethren, Springfield.
Rev. Kres Lipscomb – First Church of the Brethren, Springfield
Rabbi Barry Marks - Temple Israel
Rev. Berkley Moore - Minister Emeritus, Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation
Ms. Maryam Mostoufi, D. Min. - Islamic Society of Springfield
Mr. Ken Page - President NAACP, Springfield Branch
Rev. Tim Rowles – Associate Pastor, Abundant Faith Christian Center
Mr. Richard Norton Smith – Director, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
Mr. Clayton Whitmore-Penrose - Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation
Rev. Martin Woulfe - Abraham Lincoln UU Congregation


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