The last weekend of the year brought news of violent attacks on participants in a Hanukkah service in Rockford County, New York and a worship service at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White City, Texas.
In response to the attack (and other attacks on Jewish persons) in New York Rabbis Mark Bloom and David Cooper and I drafted this statement of concern for the Interfaith Council of Alameda County:
In the wake of the many attacks on Jewish people in New York this past week, attacks that remind us the ancient evil of anti-Semitism is alive and well, the Interfaith Council of Alameda County joins with people of goodwill from many faith traditions in condemning the hatred of Jews and confirming that an attack on any community because of its identity is an attack on all of us, regardless of whether we share that identity or not. May we continue to join together against hate and for shalom.
In response to the shootings at the church in Texas in which three people died, including the gunman, Amanda Tyler (Executive Director, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) wrote:
The epidemic of gun violence at houses of worship is also a severe threat to religious freedom in our country. If we cannot feel secure in our churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, we do not have freedom. I’m praying for these victims today.
Violence is, of course, an ongoing concern in the City of Oakland. I invite you to join me at 3:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve for the Service of the Crosses at St. Columba Church (San Pablo and Alcatraz). The victims of gun violence in the year gone by will be remembered and prayers will be offered for peace in the year ahead.
Prayers of the Congregation
Hallie Randel for mom; Jewelle and James Gibbs; Jeanne Robinson; Mary Karne for Maryla; Zondra and Marty Martin; Daphne Croy (Chin) for her mother-in-law; Carol Knight as she grieves her mother; Geetha, Darshan and Emmanuel Thaker; Jesus Portillo for Jude; Karen Hopkins for Georgianne and Connie; Judy (guest from Portland) for Coleen; Bidias for Ashley and the homeless of our city; Anne MacMillan for Stephanie; Thanksgiving with the Dawkins family that P.D. and Christian are doing well; Thanksgiving with Doris Evans and Marian Ott as they celebrate their birthdays; Sandra Lee for the residents and employees of Piedmont Gardens; Melanie Baggao (International Ministries) as she prepares to return to Lebanon and her work with refugees;
P.S. As I noted on Sunday my commitment in the year ahead is a series on “One Page Sermons.” My one page sermon this coming Sunday will be titled either “We Journey On” or “When the Star Fades.” The scripture will be Matthew 2: 1-16. Pastor Allison Tanner and Pastor Carolyn Matthews will both participate in the service under their new titles of Pastor of Public Witness and Pastor of Christian Education. Our January Outreach Offering is the Retired Ministers and Missionaries Offering.