Our letter to members and friends of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh

On October 30, the Board of Directors of the Catawba Valley Interfaith Council paused in prayer to remember the lives brutally taken at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh on October 27. The Board resolved to send a letter to Pittsburg, which is included in full (with the Board’s prayer) below.

November 2, 2018

Dear Members and Friends of Tree of Life Synagogue,

Our Catawba Valley Interfaith Council upholds and supports you in your time of grief and sorrow. We came into being a few years ago to help build trust and understanding among the many faith groups in the community and to foster love that unites and celebrates diversity. The hate-motivated tragedy that you have experienced makes us more determined than ever to speak out and act out in ways that bring people together for the good of all.

Your congregation has experienced much suffering and loss; we suffer with you because when any part of the human family experiences acts of violence and expressions of hate, everyone is less safe. As we dream and plan for a new tomorrow, it is important that we labor together to break down all that separates and work together to construct a climate where everyone feels secure and loved.

Catawba Valley Interfaith Council stands with Tree of Life Synagogue as you deal with everything such a terrible expression of hate has caused. It is our hope that as all of us move through the healing process we may experience a brighter future for our faith communities and for our nation.

You will find enclosed a prayer used to open our October 30th Board meeting at which time plans were announced for a community service of Remembrance and Hope to be held at Temple Beth Shalom, here in Hickory, NC, on Saturday, November 3rd.

Blessings and Love,
CVIC Board of Directors

Rabbi Dennis Jones, Temple Beth Shalom
Rev. Donald P. Flick, United Church of Christ
Julie Cline, Unitarian Universalist
William Keener, Humanist
Mindy Makant, Ph.D., Evangelical Lutheran
Rev. Cliff Moone, Presbyterian
Rev. Nancy Stahl, Disciples of Christ
Michele Francois, Presbyterian
Barbara Laufer, Ph.D., Temple Beth Shalom
Rev. Patrick Campbell, United Church of Christ
Rev. Jill Isola, Presbyterian
Rev. Paul Christy, United Methodist
Robert Nehls, The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints
John Esse, Ph.D., Buddhist

Opening Prayer Rev. Donald P. Flick
Catawba Valley Interfaith Council
Board of Director’s Meeting
October 30, 2018

God of all humankind and creator of the universe, you call us to love one another and share the community in which we live peacefully and in harmony with one another. We are to respect differences and rejoice in our diversity.

It is heart breaking and sad when the community climate is such that freedom and security is broken and violated….when others religions and freedom of expression is not respected.

We mourn the loss of life and the act of violence experienced this past week in Squirrel Hill, Pa.. and are saddened that such a climate of hate has invaded our society that such acts have become common occurrences. Our prayers are extended to those suffering from loss and the fear and uncertainty such acts bring about.

May such expressions of hate and misdirected thinking not turn us to despair but cause us to be more determined than ever to work for unity and understanding, trust and peace among all. Give us the wisdom, strength, and motivation to build strong loving relationships and an Interfaith Council that helps create a united community where love abounds and the challenges of the times can be successfully met.

While our prayer life may be different, Loving God, unite us in our effort to create a climate of peace and hope and love in all that we do. Amen.

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