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Interfaith program to counter controversial pastor's visit

By Kevin Lavery, WKAR News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wkar/local-wkar-984468.mp3

Lansing, MI – Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the city will host an interfaith program at a local church to counter the upcoming visit of a controversial pastor.

The Rev. Terry Jones will speak at a rally next Wednesday at the state Capitol. Jones sparked outrage among Muslims last March when he burned a copy of the Quran.

Shortly before the rally gets underway, local civic and religious leaders will host an interfaith event at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lansing. Mayor Virg Bernero says it's meant to showcase diversity.

"You know, I understand that some folks might feel the need to kind of take a stand against the hatred that might be spewing from the Capitol steps from (Reverend) Jones, and we're just trying to make sure the word gets out that if there's something you want to express, come to the church," says Bernero.

"If all these groups want to come out and protest and all this and that, that's just perfectly fine with us," says James Terpening. He's the founder of "Operation Freedom's Tree," the group that's sponsoring the rally. "The only thing we ask is that it's done in a completely non-violent nature. Because I guarantee you that in no way will me, anyone from my organization or Pastor Jones' organization...not one of us will get violent. That's not what we're about."

Wednesday's rally at the Capitol starts at 6 p.m. The interfaith program at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Lansing begins at 5:15 p.m.

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