What happens at the strike of 5 a.m.? "It's quiet and it's dark," says First Divine's Reverend Karl Kopp. "I come in and sit down and say, 'It's 5 o'clock,' or whatever, and then I explain what's going to happen and invite people to share in it. The idea is really just to enter into a consciousness of peace, and to do it in sync with groups doing the same thing all over the world."
The silent meditation usually lasts about an hour, though last year's well-attended post-9/11 service went on, spontaneously, for nearly two. When it's over, a bell rings, and everyone files into the dining room for a simple potluck breakfast. "Afterward, people are subdued," Kopp explains. "It's an odd time to be together, but it's a friendly atmosphere. There's a feeling like we're all together here and connected. There's a sense of goodwill and 'okayness.'
Kopp figures the church will continue to hold the meditation services at the end of each year, certainly for as long as he's around -- "If the world doesn't cave in on us first," he adds. But he also acknowledges that you don't have to be in a big room with a bunch of other people just to think things through: "If you can't make it at that hour, you're still welcome to meditate on your own, wherever you are. The material place where you do it doesn't really matter."