The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Michaela Youngson and Bala Gnanapragasam, have condemned the recent atrocity carried out at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in which eleven people died. They also offered their deep condolences both to the families and friends of the victims and more widely to the Jewish community which was deliberately targeted in this act of extremist hate crime.
The Revd Youngson said: “We are deeply saddened by this tragic news; our prayers are with the victims and families of those affected and with all members of the Jewish community, both in the United States and in this country, who feel under attack from anti-Semitic language, threats and acts of violence. There can be no justification for such horrific acts of violence or the extremist views which reportedly motivated the killer. We must continue to pray for peace within and between nations, and to act as peacemakers in our communities."
The Methodist Conference, meeting in Nottingham earlier this year, passed a motion deploring the rise of anti-Semitic hate incidents in our own country, saying that: “the Conference deplores all such attacks and absolutely condemns anti-Semitism as evil and wrong."
Methodists believe that all humankind is made in God’s image and that hate crimes defile our understanding of God and of what it is to be human. As we pray for those directly affected by the Pittsburgh attack, we also commit ourselves afresh to promote understanding, cohesion and peace between different communities.
Prayer: God of Abraham and Sarah We pray for all caught up in the attack at the Synagogue in Pittsburgh, hold them in your light and peace. You call us to follow you in times of ease and in times of fear, you call us to live as those who weave dreams and bring peace. In our outrage and despair we call upon you to comfort those who mourn, and mend the wounds of those injured. God of peace, turn words of hate into actions of love move us from fear to hope and may your will be done on earth as in heaven. In your mercy hear our prayer. Amen.