In light of the most recent eruption of senseless hatred and violence which has impacted the community of Christchurch, New Zealand, we are drawn together as people of faith to mourn, to pray and to stand together against bigotry, white supremacy and intolerance. This blatant disregard for human life is an affront to God and to people of faith everywhere.
Each of our religious traditions affirms the inherent value of human life and our responsibility to love and care for our neighbors. Therefore, we cannot allow hatred of this sort to go unchecked.
Fear of the other, fear of those who think, dress and worship differently than ourselves inevitably leads to distrust, to anger and to events such as we have seen at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, at Mother Emmanuel in Charleston, at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, as we have seen in Christchurch.
Together we vow to stand with all who feel threatened by persecution and violence. As faith
communities of New Jersey, we have a pledge to Stand Up For the Other: “Racial bigotry, religious persecution, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any other form of hatred cannot be wiped out unless each and every one of us confronts it within our own circles of family and friends. Silence is seen as consent. It takes courage to stand up for the other!”
You are invited to sign this pledge and invite others to do the same – https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfsA_KlreaAlnmu6lukxBlSUvtZAD_gVVz_JgyDjxq6iRKoXg/vi
As members of the Freehold Clergy Association, when we find ourselves in worship this week, we shall raise our voices together in solidarity to God, praying: “O, God, you are the source of life and peace. Praised be your name forever. We know it is you who turns our minds to thoughts of peace.
“Hear our prayers in this time of crisis. Your power changes hearts. Muslims, Christians and Jews remember, and proudly affirm, that they are followers of one God, children of Abraham, brothers and sisters; enemies begin to speak to one another; those who were estranged join hands in friendship; nations seek the way of peace together.
“Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live. Grant us understanding that puts an end to strife; mercy that quenches hatred, and forgiveness that overcomes vengeance. Amen.”
Freehold Clergy Association
This letter was signed by Rev. Dirk Reinken, Rabbi Melinda Panken, Rev. Alan Olson, Msgr. Sam Sirianni, Rev. William Wilson, Omer Kadri, Rev. Ruth Scott, Rev. Hosie Scott, Rabbi Ellie Shemtov, Rev. Ronald Sparks, Rev. David Groeneveld, Rev. Edward Kropa, Rabbi Ira Samuel Grussgott, Fatima Jaffari, Rev. Patricia Medley, Karen Powell, Fr. James Conover, Rev. Fred Rubin, Rev. Bernadette Cataline, Rev. Jonathan Elsensohn and Jennifer Schlameuss-Perry