New York — Readings of essays on peace and a peace mass were highlights of a day pledged to peace, education, and inspiration at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City Saturday. Actors and actresses from The Theatre Artist's Workshop of Westport, Conn., read essays from ``How Peace Came to the World'' (MIT Press), a compilation of writings from The Christian Science Monitor's peace essay contest held last year.
``We are all here because we believe peace is possible,'' said Paul Gorman, the host for the occasion, which was broadcast over WBAI, a public radio station here. He said the essays challenge the imagination and the hope of ordinary citizens.
The essays, set in the future, are written from the premise that world peace had arrived by the year 2010.
He called the more than four-hour session ``our answer to Orson Welles,'' whose ``War of The Worlds'' radio broadcast frightened many listeners several decades ago. Mr. Gorman said the essays will not alarm the public, but also would not lull them into complacency regarding the future. A future of peace, he said, is one ``we have to create.''
Actor Lee Richardson, who was recently seen in the movie ``Prizzi's Honor,'' began the marathon readings with an essay by Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm, depicting how the world reacted when a nuclear exchange beween India and Pakistan virtually destroyed the subcontinent. Governor Lamm's essay, which was one of the three prize winners in the contest, wrote of the world's horror at the holocaust and mankind's ensuing decision that nuclear weapons were simply suicide for the world.
Other essays read showed how peace came through creative thinking, a change in consciousness on the part of individuals, and citizen initiatives.
Some of the most enthusuastic applause came after Keir Dullea, who was in the movies ``2001'' and ``2010'', read an essay about an exchange program between US college sophomores and USSR students. -- 30 --
Improvisational music by David Darling and ``Music For People'' was played during breaks.