Over the past 6 days, hateful, racist messages have been spray-painted on 5 places of worship in Ottawa: Parkdale United Church (for the second time since January), a synagogue, the home of a rabbi, a mosque and a Jewish Community Centre.
Yesterday, Karen and I and other members of St. Andrew’s joined 100’s and 100’s of others at the Machzikel Hadas Synagogue for a solidarity gathering. Muslims, Jews and Christians came together to respond together to this vandalism. As Rev. Anthony Bailey of Parkdale United Church said: “Such behaviour must never, ever, be the norm – for any group.”
As part of this service of solidarity yesterday, the whole congregation stood and read these words together, affirming our united stand against racism and our commitment to love, peace and acceptance.
Today, congregations all over Ottawa will be reading these words together as well.
Please stand with me, if you are able, and let us here at St. Andrew’s read these words together.
Here are the words of solidarity, written by members of the congregation of the Machzikel Hadas Synagogue.
Expression of Solidarity and Gratitude
Congregation Machzikel Hadas
November 19th, 2016
We gather together as a united community to express in words what we feel in our hearts. Painful events of the past week have proven a number of important points.
Words of concern and empathy are more powerful than graffiti.
Expressions of love are more potent than expressions of hate.
The power of togetherness is stronger than the power of divisiveness.
A community standing together negates evil intentions.
Words of comfort heal the wounds of verbal assault.
A common commitment to everyone protects against an attack on anyone.
We are strong because we are resolute in our togetherness.
We are even stronger because we are cooperative in our diversity
We gather to focus on the good that inheres in all of us.
We gather to extol the mosaic that defines who we are.
We gather to celebrate the beauty of our community.
We gather to express our gratitude for the wonderful people who comprise this great city, our Nation’s Capital.
We gather to be thankful for living in this caring country, Canada.
We resolve, individually and collectively, to do all within our power to assure that this
Is the Canada that our children and theirs will inherit.