The recent attacks of hatred toward Jewish communities around the country, including the most recent attack in Monsey, NY are just that: acts of hatred and terror. And hatred and terror are things that we as citizens of this country, and more specifically, Christian clergy living and ministering in Sparta, are unable to tolerate or abide. We mourn the tragedy of the attacks in Monsey, NY and the fear that permeates Jewish communities in New Jersey and beyond.
We pray for our siblings in New York and in other places that have experienced overt attacks in the recent weeks. We pray for our siblings here in Sparta and Sussex County, that hope and love overcome fear and anxiety.
We are sorry for not speaking our solidarity with our siblings sooner. We apologize for this and ask your forgiveness. We will no longer be silent.
Further, we stand with our siblings against all forms of bigotry, vandalism, and violent attacks because of one’s faith or ethnicity. We call out people and groups that promote hatred and violence. We encourage all folks to put down all means of violence – from words to weapons. We call on all people to meet each other in peace, which means open hands and hearts. We invite these folks to meet and walk with one another in truth and love.
As clergy, we recognize that this process will not be quick, nor will it be easy. We are products of inherited prejudices and misunderstandings that take deliberate and constant work to change. We pledge to work on listening to and accompanying our siblings in faith without judgment and in self-giving love. We trust the Holy Spirit to work in and among us throughout the coming days to be better neighbors and siblings.
In hope of God’s audacious love,
The Reverend Kristina Reyes, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church
The Reverend Doctor Debra Brewin-Wilson, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
The Reverend Michael Corso, Sophia Inclusive Catholic Community
The Reverend Randolph Parks, Newton Memorial Hospital
The Reverend Steven Bechtold, Sparta United Methodist Church
The Reverend Doctor Patrick Sileo, First Presbyterian Church of Sparta
The Reverend David McDonnell, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church