They came just as they were: out of the dormitories in jeans and khakis, in suits and white shirts and conservative dresses from downtown, and some with ashes still flaking off their shoulders. They huddled behind the protective walls in the great quad of Columbia University and shared their stories of fleeing down the streets, calming the traumatized and waiting in line for hours to give blood.

About 150 people came to the steps of Low Library at 6 p.m. on Tuesday to hear Charles Drew of nearby Emmanuel Presbyterian Church reassure them that the Lord is in charge in the midst of the upheaval. "You should exalt Jesus while the nations rage," Drew told them. "God is in charge, and in the end we have hope."

Across the city, New Yorkers were drawn to prayer. Here's Life Inner City and other ministries set up prayer stations on the streets so that fleeing refugees could stop and take a moment to gather spiritual resources. Churches like Primitive Christian Church near the World Trade Center area and Marble Collegiate a little further uptown sent people into the streets to tell people fleeing the disaster area that they could come to rest, refresh and pray. Many churches held prayer services Tuesday evening. Many more are planning them for today.

Drew says that "people were mostly stunned. I am still reeling. There are a number of people missing."

After announcing where people could get help and give blood, the pastor divided the crowd into prayer groups. Participants shared their experiences and comforted each other. One woman from Wall Street talked about how traumatized a friend was after seeing the second plane crash into the World Trade Center tower above her head. Another prayer group comforted a recent graduate from Columbia, who nearly died when the debris from the collapsing towers came roaring toward him.

Drew urged congregation members to sustain their compassion. "Today, people here waited two or three hours to give blood," Drew said. "Remember that we have to be concerned with what happens on Wednesday and Thursday, too. We as Christians have a special reason to give our blood for those who are fallen."

Tony Carnes is Senior News Writer for Christianity Today.





Related Elsewhere


Christianity Today's other articles on the attacks include:
Shaken Christians Turn to Prayer | Impromptu services usher in the bereaved by word of mouth, road signs, and e-mail. (Sept. 13, 2001)

Illinois Pastor on Fatal Flight | Jeffrey Mladenik, 43, was involved in workplace ministry, international adoption. (Sept. 13, 2001)

Communication Troubles Challenge U.S. Church Relief Agencies | Aid work continues amid atmosphere of shock, fear, and sporatic harrassment. (Sept. 13, 2001)

When Sin Reigns | An event like this shows us what humans are capable of becoming—both as children of darkness and of light. (Sept. 13, 2001)

Reflections on Suffering | Classic and contemporary quotations for dark times. (Sept. 13, 2001)

In the Belly of the Beast | Christians, calling terrorist attack "satanically brilliant," minister at epicenter of World Trade disaster. (Sept. 12, 2001)

Churches, Agencies Respond to Attacks | Leaders call for prayer, justice, and mercy. (Sept. 12, 2001)

Muslims Fear a Backlash | No matter who is responsible, observers feel a reaction will still be present. (Sept. 12, 2001)

A Wake-Up Call to Become Global Christians | The deadly attacks on America will provoke many responses, but Christians are commanded to love our neighbors. (Sept. 12, 2001)

Nation's Religious Leaders Urge Calm, Pray for Peace | Churches will maintain prayer vigils for victims and leaders. (Sept. 11, 2001)

Church Leaders Around World Deplore 'Unspeakable Horror' of Attack | Christians urged to unite in prayer as they unite in shock and denunciation. (Sept. 11, 2001)

Experts Say Spiritual Roots Will Aid in Coping With Catastrophe | Pray and connect with others, advise nation's chaplains. (Sept. 11, 2001)

Fear and Hate | In times like this, as in all other times, Christians have a responsibility to love above all else. (Sept. 11, 2001)

God's Message in the Language of Events | In the face of evil, we must focus on keeping our hearts right. (Sept. 11, 2001)
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For in-depth and continuing coverage, see The New York Times, The Washington Post, BBC, CNN, and Yahoo full coverage.

Yahoo has also compiled aid organization contact information, closure notification, and survivor lists.

For more Christian perspectives and responses, see various articles posted on Christianity.com, Crosswalk.com, and Beliefnet.com.

The Text This Week, a resource for pastors, has collected sermons and reflections in response to the Sept. 11 events.

The BBC, Boston.com, The Village Voice, and USA Today have photo essays of the destruction.

For video or audio coverage, see CNN, ABC News,and Sky News. The Washington Post is running a live Web cam of the Pentagon building.

The BBC has compiled reactions from world leaders (with video).

President Bush addressed the nation on Tuesday evening (video | transcript). He also released a statement Tuesday afternoon. Bush first learned of the World Trade Center tragedy while preparing to speak to schoolchildren in Sarasota, Fla.. There, he asked Amercians for a moment of silence for the victims.

Slate.com explained who responds to crisis situations.

The Pope and Billy Graham have spoke out on the tragedy and sent out prayers to the victims and their families.

An Interpol report details the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

The Washington Post has a list of tenants of the World Trade Center.

The New York Blood Centers declared a blood emergency after the Sept. 11 attacks.