This past Saturday, we awoke to the all-too-familiar image of a community devastated by an act of senseless violence: Fifty members of the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Center in Christchurch, New Zealand had been shot dead in their houses of worship, robbed of the promise of life, torn from the lives of family members and loved ones. Dozens of others suffer physical wounds that will require months and years to heal. Both mosque communities will carry the spiritual scars of this event for the rest of their lives. And Muslim communities throughout the world have been robbed of the very peace most of us take for granted when gathering in our own communities of worship.
Those of us who stand outside the circle of grief offer what prayers we can, acknowledging a depth of sorrow beyond our own experience for those mourning lives cut short by an act motivated by hatred alone, by evil spawned by an incapacity to see difference of race, history, identity and religion as a blessing of God and not a threat to an imagined privilege of place.
As the undersigned clergy of Guilford and Madison, we acknowledge and celebrate our respective faith traditions’ common heritage with the Islamic community. We are all children of Abraham, all created in the image and form of God, all bound by a love of neighbor and a deep commitment to practice peace.
So while we stand in solidarity with those to whom we seek to be as sisters and brothers, the members of Muslim communities and mosques throughout Connecticut, we condemn at the same time, in the strongest possible terms all forms of racism, all actions and language that seek to diminish and harm those created in God’s own form and image. And we call once again upon those responsible for the provision of public security and well-being to ensure that all communities of faith in our state enjoy the right and privilege of worshipping peacefully and without threat of violence.
Rev. Ricardo E. Borja, St. George Roman Catholic Church, Guilford
The Rev. Dr. Ginger Brasher-Cunningham, First Congregational Church, Guilford.
Reverend Judith Cooke, North Guilford Congregational Church, UCC
Reverend Maureen Lederman, St. John's Episcopal Church, North Guilford
The Rev. Jeanne Lloyd, Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Society
Sr. Kathleen Lynch, SND, St. George Roman Catholic Church, Guilford
Rev. Matthew McCaffrey, Interim Minister, North Madison Congregational Church, United Church of Christ
Rev. Daniel J. McLearen, Saint Margaret Roman Catholic Church, Madison
Deacon Adam J. Michaele, Saint Margaret Roman Catholic Church, Madison
The Rev. Shariya Molegoda, Rector, St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, Madison
Rabbi Stacy Offner, Temple Beth Tikvah, Madison
The Rev. Mary Anne Osborn, Christ Episcopal Church, Guilford
Rev. Stephen M. Sledesky, St. George Roman Catholic Church, Guilford
Cantor Mark Stanton, Temple Beth Tikvah, Madison
Deacon Robert Tartaris, St. George Roman Catholic Church, Guilford
The Rev. Lynda Tyson, Christ Episcopal Church, Guilford
Reverend Todd Vetter, First Congregational Church of Madison, UCC
Reverend Sarah Vetter, First Congregational Church of Madison, UCC
Rev. Dennis J. Vincenzo, St. George Roman Catholic Church, Guilford
The Rev. R. Harrison West, Rector, Christ Episcopal Church, Guilford
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