Many churches saw attendance swell after Sept. 11 and then return to pre-attack levels, said Dr. Marty Baker, pastor of Stevens Creek Community Church. But Stevens Creek's continued to climb from an average Sunday attendance of 290 in January 2000 to 650-700 today.
The events a year ago woke people up, he said. The United States may not be out of difficulty yet, "but we believe God gives us hope for tomorrow."
On Wednesday night at 7, the church at 600 Stevens Creek Road in Martinez will hold a special program: The Rev. Gary Beneventi, pastor of River Christian Fellowship in Martinez, and Melissa Bahleda will talk about their experiences at ground zero in New York. The Lakeside High School band will play.
A year after Sept. 11, congregations will gather to remember, to mourn and to proclaim their hopes for peace. Here is a sampling of Augusta-area observances throughout the day:
The gymnasium at North Augusta High School, 2000 Knobcone Ave., will be the setting for a community service at 7 p.m., in which Cassy Robinson will speak about working at ground zero.
Those who attend will be given paper crosses and pencils to write prayer concerns, said Pastor James Glander of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in North Augusta. As they exit the service, titled Moving from Ground Zero to Solid Rock, they will leave the paper crosses behind and pick up small rocks.
America, the Beautiful, Let There Be Peace on Earth and classical selections will provide a time for reflection during a communitywide interfaith service at 11 a.m. at Sacred Heart Cultural Center, 1301 Greene St.
Christians and Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Bahais, Hindus and Sikhs will gather to express sorrow over the national tragedy.
The event, sponsored by the Downtown Churches Association, will likely be the first of its kind in the Augusta area, said the Rev. Allan McDonald, pastor of the Catholic Church of the Most Holy Trinity.
After a call to prayer, the Rev. Jane Brooks, the superintendent of the Augusta District of the United Methodist Church, will address the crowd.
Bells will toll at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 605 Reynolds St., at 8:46 a.m., in observance of the first terrorist strike. Dr. Richard Sanders, rector, will lead a noon memorial service at the church against a backdrop of patriotic music.
The Rev. William Blount, pastor of Greater Young Zion Baptist Church, 405 Sand Bar Ferry Road, will conclude a study titled The 9/11 Tragedy, a Natural, Historical and Religious Perspective at noon and 7 p.m.
Nearly a year has passed since Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist Church, 1330 Monte Sano Ave., opened its chapel to the community on Wednesday afternoons. People who want a quiet place for prayer can drop in between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., said the Rev. Kirk Sims, associate pastor. The chapel "wasn't opened the day after (the attacks) ... but it was during that season."
For now, it will remain open - there's been no discussion about ending the open chapel, he said.
Faith vs. Evil: Retrospectives on Sept. 11, the next installment of Theology on Tap, will be at 8 p.m. at Metro A Coffeehouse, 1054 Broad St. Patrons must be 21 or older. Instead of happy hour, they will pray a rosary at 7 p.m. on the steps of the Catholic Church of the Most Holy Trinity, 720 Telfair St.
Relics from the attack site, given to the Rev. Cynthia Taylor, vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Comforter, will be displayed during a noon service at the church office, 3604-A Wheeler Road.
Columbia County sheriff's deputies and firefighters will be honored at 7 p.m. during a service at Wesley United Methodist Church, 825 N. Belair Road in Evans. The Rev. Cynthia Taylor will speak of her ministry at the attack site in New York. U.S. Army Col. Jack Hook, who experienced the attack at the Pentagon, will also speak. Julane Davidson and Stephen Long, who lost their lives Sept. 11 and have relatives living in the Augusta area, will also be remembered during the nondenominational service.
In Aiken, a service of healing and hope will begin at St. John's United Methodist Church at 6:45 p.m.
A Time of Reflection and Response at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mark United Methodist Church, 2367 Washington Road, will focus on remembering, thankfulness, love and forgiveness.
A praise and worship concert will be offered at 7 p.m. at Big Stevens Baptist Church, 1850 W. Martintown Road in North Augusta.
St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, 117 Pleasant Home Road, will hold a 9-11 Remembrance Mass at 7 p.m. The service will include patriotic music by an orchestra and the church choirs.
Fleming Baptist Church, 3027 Peach Orchard Road, will be open for prayer from 8:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and will hold a candlelight service at 7:15 p.m.
Greene Street Presbyterian Church, 1235 Greene St., will play host to a community breakfast and prayer service at 6:30 a.m. To request prayer. Call 733-5255.
Jimmy Page will join the Byrd Family at 7 p.m. at Bible Fellowship Church for a time of remembrance titled God Bless the U.S.A. Bible Fellowship holds services at the Belair Conference Center behind Wingate Inn Hotel on Belair Road.
The House of the Lord Church, 1351 10th St., will hold a candlelight prayer service at 7 p.m.
Gospel Water Branch Baptist Church, 703 Furys Ferry Road in Evans, will have a prayer and praise service at 7 p.m.
New Harvest Fellowship Church of God of Prophecy, 2031 Gardner St., will honor attack victims during a candlelight service at 7 p.m.
Grace Baptist Church, 4798 Hardy-McManus Road in Evans, at 7 p.m. will salute the attack victims and the heroes who worked to rescue them. The church will honor local public service workers with a multimedia presentation and patriotic music by soloists, mixed ensembles, a quartet and a choir.
Former U.S. Rep. Doug Barnard will speak at The Hill Baptist Church, 2165 Kings Way, at 8:30 a.m. The church will remain open for prayer through a closing service at 6:30 p.m.
In Johnston, S.C., a community service at First Baptist Church will begin at 7 p.m.
Reach Virginia Norton at (706) 823-3336 or email@example.com.