Interfaith prayers at Putnam County to mark new year

Putnam County Courier, Dec 31, 2008

Putnam County, Florida (USA) -- From swearing-in of elected officials to family and organizational parties while watching televised football games, residents of Putnam County and vicinity will be enjoying the first day of 2009.

The area's most meaningful celebration will be taking place at the Chuang Yen Monastery in western Kent when the Buddhist Association of the United States hosts a "New Year's Interfaith Prayer for World Peace."

Festivities begin at 10 a.m. at the monastery, located off Route 301 eight miles west of Carmel, when governmental officials from the area, as well as religious leaders, lead the congregation in brief prayers.

A luncheon is scheduled at noon in the monastery dining hall.

Sue-Sue Yang, director of public information for the association, has invited the public to attend the gathering as a way to begin 2009 in a "spiritual and peaceful manner."

In previous years, as many as 500 attendees took part in the celebration that is highlighted by song, chants, instruments, aroma of incense and the majesty of the Buddha.

Admission is free. Those wanting to make a reservation may contact Yang at 973-401-1633 or on line at