As religious leaders in the City of Summit, we are proud of the way that our diverse community came together recently in response to a natural disaster.  It was a powerful reminder that caring for our fellow human beings is a principle that unites us all.

Sadly, a recent act of vandalism here in Summit—the painting of a swastika on private property—reminds us that we are often quick to forget the humanity of those who may be of different religions or backgrounds. Whatever the motivation behind the act, it was a crude message of bigotry, and alien to the kind of welcoming and diverse community Summit seeks to be. 

We believe that each human being, as a child of God, is entitled to be treated with respect, dignity, and understanding.

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We believe that the ethical teachings of our common heritage are totally incompatible with any actions or words that injure other human beings because of their differences.

We believe that all people of good will in our community are called to demonstrate more love for those who are different from themselves, to pursue deeper understanding of faith traditions other than their own, and to express greater gratitude for the blessing of diversity.

We, the Summit Interfaith Council, pledge to realize this vision among ourselves, and to help our community become more welcoming to all, inspired by these words:  “Have we not all one Creator? Has not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10)

 

Rev. Dr. Charles Baier, Central Presbyterian Church

Rev. Dr. Catherine Bickerton, Overlook Medical Center

Rev. Emilie Boggis, The Unitarian Church of Summit

Rev. Diana Clark, Calvary Episcopol Church

Rev. Matthew Corkern, Calvary Episcopal Church

Rev. Bruce Davidson, St John's Lutheran Church

Rabbi Avi Friedman, Summit Jewish Community Center

Rabbi Stuart Gershon, Temple Sinai

Janet Haag, Interweave

Rev. Denison Harrield, Jr., Wallace Chapel AME Zion Church

Angela Intili, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church

Rev. Shawn Callender Hogan, United Methodist Church of Summit

Rev. Robert Morris, Calvary Episcopal Church

Fr. Brian Plate, St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church

Cantor Janet Roth, Summit Jewish Community Center

Rev. Charles Rush, Christ Church

Vicar Blake Scalet, St. John’s Lutheran Church

Cantor Marina Shemesh, Temple Sinai

Rabbi Amy Small, Congregation Beth Hatikvah

Rev. Vernon Williams, Fountain Baptist Church

Rev. Julie Yarborough, Christ Church

 

The Summit Interfaith Council, a coalition of leadership of the religious communities of Summit, exists to “seek the welfare of the city (Jeremiah 29:7).”  We recognize our common spiritual ground while celebrating the diversity of our traditions.  Our purpose includes developing a voice to speak to the city and its people of out of our common religious perspectives.

 

For more information, contact council president Rabbi Avi Friedman 908-273-8130 or rabbi@summitjcc.org.