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First Churches will host KEEPING HOPE ALIVE: An Interfaith Service for Syria on Sunday April 8th from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. Sponsored by the Valley Syrian Relief Committee and nineteen faith communities and social justice groups, this event marks the seventh year of the war in Syria. The program will feature speakers, the reading of prayers and poetry as well as musical interludes. Speakers will share personal experiences and provide information on the continuing war in Syria.

Ahed Festuk, a Syrian refugee and activist, will be interviewed about her experiences in Syria by Mehlaqua Samdani of Critical Connections.

Professor Steven Heydemann, Director of the Smith College Middle East Studies Program, will speak briefly about the current situation in Syria.

Students from Amherst Regional High School’s Refugees in Distress Committee will speak about their work on behalf of Syria.

There will be an opportunity to take an action and make a donation to the Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF) to support their humanitarian work. Soup for Syria cookbooks will be available with proceeds going to SETF.

The Peace and Justice Committee of the Outward Ministries is one of the co-sponsors of this event. For further information, contact Marion VanArsdell at 586-3906 or marionvanarsdell@gmail.com.

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