On Monday December 6th the Wesley Center hosted a vigil in conjunction with the office of the Dean of Students and Mayor Kitty Piercy. The purpose of the vigil was to unequivocally express support for the Muslim community after the horrific burning of the Mosque in Corvallis.
Paul Shang, the Dean of Students at the University of Oregon connected with the Religious Directors Association (RDA), the Anti-Hate Task-force and other community groups. He worked with Warren to support action-response in solidarity with the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Warren is a co-chair of the RDA. With Jennifer Martin of the Koinonia Center and the support of most of the RDA group members, Warren and Matt Alhands
[Reformed Campus Fellowship Cascade Presbyterian Church] came up with a short statement. The RDA supported this statement in the campus newspaper, which read:
Let's continue to work together to ensure mutual understanding and respect at the University of Oregon.
The Religious Directors Association [RDA]
The Wesley Center is the home for the Muslim Prayer Room: a space freely open to be utilized by the MSA as a safe place for prayer. Since the prayer room is in the Wesley Center, Dean Shang and Warren felt it would be a great place to gather for a vigil. It is extremely important to our family at the Wesley Center that everyone feels welcome.
At the vigil, Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, U O President Richard Lariviere, were in attendance, taking time out of their hectic end-of-the-year schedule to add their words from the heart. From the RDA, Jennifer Martin [Koinonia], Paul Bessemer [Hillel], Rev. Dann Houghton, and representatives from the First Congregational Church and the Newman Center offered wisdom and compassion. Many students, representatives from CALC and the Anti-Hate Task Force, and others gave their support. Speaker after Speaker, reader after reader, and one singer called for solidarity (not just "tolerance"), understanding (not just ignorant pity).
Near the end of the program, Warren read from Martin Luther King's Nobel Acceptance Speech:
I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.
I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.
We came to embrace another in community - thanks to all; and friends in the Muslim community, thanks for being part of our lives.