Bishop Marray hand-delivered a copy of the following letter to our friend Rabbi Peter Hyman, from Temple B’Nai Israel, here in Easton. In response to the tragic shootings in Pittsburgh this past Sunday, the Bishop also attended a gathering at Temple B’nai Israel for a community service of Solidarity and Healing on Thursday, November 1st. Many members of the Episcopal Christian community, both clergy and laity were present and participating in the worship service and other similar services around the Eastern Shore. Our solidarity with our friends of the Jewish Community is reflective of our baptismal call to respect the dignity of every human being.
Dear Rabbi Hyman, Brothers and Sisters of our Jewish Family,
On behalf of the entire Episcopal Diocese of Easton, I offer deep condolences to all members of Temple B’nai Israel on the senseless and barbaric act of hatred and unspeakable murderous attack on innocent members of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We include in our sentiments all those affected by the horrific crime that shattered the lives of so many of God’s beloved children. This senseless act took eleven innocent lives engaged in the most solemn act of human freedom that this nation affords its citizens – the worship of Almighty God. We vehemently condemn in any form or fashion verbal or physical all acts of hatred, bigotry, injustice and Anti-Semitism directed against all God’s children. We join with the majority of Americans to pray for greater efforts on the part of everyone to uphold the virtue of love, kindness, tolerance and civility in the public domain. The Baptismal Covenant of the Episcopal family affirms our belief and commitment toward upholding the dignity and respect we profess for every human being.
The Diocese of Easton Episcopalians stand in support of and solidarity with our Jewish sisters and brothers in this your time of unimaginable grief. We wish you to know that you and our Jewish family in Pittsburg are not standing alone. The Word of God as set forth in Deuteronomy 30:19 is the message to which you and I must hold fast: “Behold, I set before you this day, life and death, blessing and curse: therefore, choose life, that you and your descendants may live.” As Christians, we ourselves are children of Abraham by adoption. The deaths we grieve and the souls we pray for are truly those of our sisters and brothers!
The horror of the event, to attack and strike the elderly during worship, is heinous and must be condemned by all Christians and by all Americans. We must continue to pray for those affected and injured. We pray for the families of the victims. We pray for the Pittsburgh communities. We pray for our nation as a whole.
I invite you into a season of reflection and prayer. Please focus on this from our Book of Common Prayer:
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
Through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
Human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
Infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
Unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle
And confusion to accomplish our purposes on earth; that, in
Your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony
around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Let me on this very sad occasion solemnly share with you the Aaronic Blessing:
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace
this day and forevermore: Amen!!
The Right Rev. Santosh K. Marray
XI Bishop of Easton