As a sign of solidarity, the ministerial staff of the Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota UCC Conferences are reaching out to all of the mosques in our three states. We hope and pray that these small, but intentional acts are a simple reminder that we are all in the struggle toward peace together and that you have others who are keeping watch with you in this moment. In addition many of our clergy and members have attended peace vigils and gatherings in all three states. We have committed to share these images of unity and love throughout our regions and in our various churches over the coming weeks. It is our hope and spiritual belief that solidarity and hope will cast out fear and division and nothing is more palpable and transformative than us all being on one accord toward justice and inclusion.
We amplify the message sent by our national UCC leaders:
“We condemn this atrocious act of hate and terror and pray for the safety in worship for all communities of faith, especially Muslims today, and that they are free to do so without fear.
We reject the ideology of white supremacy, and any Christian justification of it, that remains prevalent in our country and in other places, an attitude that was cited in the manifesto of the arrested suspected shooter.
We strive to demonstrate our understanding of God’s love for all of God’s children by actively engaging with interfaith partners, including U.S. Muslims and globally, to know each other and to seek God’s justice based on shared principles of love of God and love of neighbor.” Read Entire Letter.
As I shared at the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa’s gathering on Sunday, March 17, “I stand before you heartbroken. I stand before you as a white Christian in the United States of America, with profound privilege. I stand before you against hate, against violence in all of its forms, denouncing especially hate and violence in the name of religious bigotry. I stand before you to confess that I am a part of traditions and peoples that have created it … I am so humbled to be here with all of you, many strangers and many friends, to say together that people of faith and people of no faith, we are called to BE together in celebration and in joy, and also in grief, and to stand together in strength, to hold one another up.”
In our season of Lent, a season of reflection and wonder, let us be called to deeper relationship with one another and with others. May we be led by our heartbreak for the pain in our human family to reach out in Love, create friendships, offer support, and also to create change in our own systems and institutions to better reflect the abundant Love of God, actively pursuing a just world for all.
The Rev. Brigit Stevens
Executive Conference Minister for Iowa-Nebraska-South Dakota Conferences of the United Church of Christ