Central VT Interfaith Statement of Solidarity

November 28, 2023

As clergy and people of faith, we are dismayed by the recent shooting of three Palestinian young men in Burlington. No one should have to live in fear of violence while simply walking down the street speaking one’s native language and wearing the traditional clothing of one’s people. While the motive of the shooter is still being investigated, we are heartbroken for our Palestinian neighbors that they must live in fear and trepidation in our own Vermont communities because of who they are and where they come from.

Our faith traditions call on us to live in God’s love by extending welcome to all, loving our neighbors, and protecting the stranger. With anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian sentiment alive and growing, we urge that we all affirm and proclaim the full humanity and dignity of Palestinian people.

We also share our concern for the highly polarized political environment that is leading too many people in our community to disregard the humanity of others with whom they disagree and whose life experiences they do not fully understand. We denounce all hatred and, in this moment, especially all Islamophobic, anti-Semitic, and anti-Arab words and actions.

We pray for the growth of compassion and the resolve to find paths toward a peaceful and just coexistence. There is no other way if we are to survive than to love and honor the fullness of our humanity and the divine light within each of us.

Signed:

Board of Directors, Beth Jacob Synagogue, Montpelier
Rev. Amy Pitton, Bethany United Church of Christ, Montpelier
Rev. Beth Ann Maier, Christ Episcopal Church, Montpelier
Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal), Barre
Rev. Rae Fraumann, Hedding United Methodist Church, Barre
Rev. Rameen W. Zahed, The Old Meeting House of East Montpelier
Rev. Kenzan Seidenberg, Shao Shan Temple, East Calais
Rev. Sinu Je, Trinity United Methodist Church, Montpelier
Rev. Joan Javier-Duval, Unitarian Church of Montpelier
Rev. Seiso Paul Cooper, Zen Realizational Community, Montpelier