To the Editor:
It is important for every one of us to stop for a moment and consider what happened on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, at a synagogue in Fort Worth, Texas. A gunman, who just that morning had been given a cup of hot tea by the rabbi there, was permitted to join them for worship. Eleven hours later, that gunman was killed, after having held three hostages, including the rabbi, until they were able to escape.
They were not released. They escaped, mainly because the rabbi and one other had participated in security training for such an event. Such training has become commonplace for houses of worship across the nation now, regardless of faith or denomination. We understand that many Jewish congregations across the nation, and the world, must now hire security guards in order to better ensure the safety of those who come to worship. And it is likely true that those houses of worship, congregating within communities where the dominant religion differs from theirs, will be the ones subjected to acts of violence.
This was a violent act of anti-Semitism that has caused grief, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress not only for those immediately involved, and the members of their congregations, but for all of our Jewish brothers and sisters, wherever they are.
We stand in solidarity and sympathy with all the children of God, and especially with our Jewish friends here on the Island, and everywhere, who must suffer each time something like this happens.
For while we understand we cannot fully fathom the depth of the pain and concern brought about by the evils of anti-Semitism, we all share in the pain visited upon us, and our congregations, indeed, all people of faith, who are impacted and injured by the acts of hatred visited upon any of us, in the name of religion.
In faith and hope,
The Rev. Chip Seadale, rector, St Andrew’s Parish (Episcopal), Edgartown
The Rev. Dr. Leo D. Christian, First Baptist Church of Vineyard Haven
Father Michael Nagle, Vineyard Haven
The Rev. Dr. Storm Swain, associate priest, Grace Church, Vineyard Haven
The Rev. Dr. Matthew Splittgerber, pastor, Vineyard Assembly of God, Tisbury
The Rev. Cathlin Baker, First Congregational Church of West Tisbury
The Rev. Dr. Charlotte Wright, interim minister, Federated Church, Edgartown
The Rev. Dr. Robert Hardies, Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard
Jonathan Polleys, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Vineyard Haven
The Rev. Sharon Eckhardt, Lutheran Minister (retired)
The Rev. Dr. Hyuk Seonwoo, United Methodist Church of Martha’s Vineyard
The Rev. William Turpie, pastor and journalist
Sarah Nevin, for Martha’s Vineyard Friends Meeting (Quakers)
The Rev. Mary Beth Daniels, interfaith minister
The Rev. Cynthia P. Hubbard, priest associate (retired), St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Edgartown
The Rev. Susan Waldrop, interfaith minister
The Rev. Stephen Harding, rector, Grace Church, Vineyard Haven
The Rev. Woody Bowman, minister, First Congregational Church, West Tisbury
The Rev. Jill De La Hunt, Martha’s Vineyard Island Insight Meditation Community
The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association