VALLEY FORGE, PA (2/24/17)—American Baptist Churches USA (ABCUSA) and American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) endorse the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA’s (NCC) statement that denounces recent acts of anti-Semitism.
The statement reads, in part: “The National Council of Churches denounces recent anti-Semitic incidents and condemns rhetoric that has fueled such acts. We stand firmly with our Jewish brothers and sisters during this difficult time. As a community of 38 Christian communions in the United States, the National Council of Churches continues to pray and work for a nation in which all persons may freely worship as they wish without fear. In this, we are not alone.”
Says Susan Gillies, ABCUSA’s interim general secretary: “Anti-Semitism has no place in our society or in our hearts. American Baptists firmly oppose any violence directed at any faith group and will pray and work vigorously for productive peace.”
ABHMS Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Haggray concurs. “American Baptist Home Mission Societies stands firmly with all people of faith and, in this instance, with the National Council of Churches, in condemning hate speech and acts of violence perpetrated against the American Jewish community,” he says. “We lament the fact that our nation has entered this disturbing period that includes a sharp increase in rhetoric, deeds and policies that threaten diverse sectors of America’s faith communities.”
NCC’s statement continues: “For months now there has been a sharp rise in threats made against synagogues and Jewish community centers. There have been at least 67 incidents at 56 Jewish Community Centers in 27 states and one Canadian province since the beginning of 2017. This week, bomb threats were called in to Jewish organizations across the nation, and a Jewish cemetery in University City, Missouri, was vandalized.
“We are encouraged to see acts of love, moral courage, and solidarity among faith groups in response to these hateful acts. When a mosque in Victoria, Texas, was destroyed by fire in an apparent arson, Jewish leaders from the community gave Muslim leaders the keys to their synagogue. In response to the Jewish cemetery vandalism, Muslims have launched a campaign to raise funds to repair it, more than tripling their goal of $20,000. We encourage churches to reach out to Jewish communities being threatened and offer similar acts of friendship and solidarity.”
Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC’s 38-member communions—from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches—include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists in answering God’s call to promote Christian faith across the United States and Puerto Rico to cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and heal and transform communities, by developing aligned action networks and programs.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.