Religious communities and leaders in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago joined all in the U.S. and people of good will across the world in grieving the terrible acts of September 11, 2001. We found these crimes against humanity to be horrendous and contrary to the core teachings of our faith traditions.
RELATE (Religious Leaders Acting Together for Equality) is 52 religious leaders of Baha'i, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant denominations from 12 northern suburbs. As a collective body of religious leaders, we originally penned this statement as a response to vicious hate crimes, including the murder of Ricky Byrdsong, on the North Shore in July 1999. Our goal in publishing this Joint Public Statement was to declare our common commitment to developing a diverse, multi-cultural community where all might dwell in harmony, peace, and abundance. We have re-released it since then when the times called for it, as they certainly did on Sept. 11, 2001.
Joint Statement of Religious Leaders
Today, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of these attacks, we call for continuing prayers for peace and unity in these difficult and uncertain times.
We abhor the stereotype‑based assumptions made about and actions taken against people of any particular faith tradition, ethnicity, or nation of origin.
We urge people in our faith communities to be especially careful when they speak to children about these crimes against humanity and those who committed these horrendous acts.
Even in our anger, we must not begin to hate.
If fear of the Other is not addressed, then the Other becomes less than human in our eyes and an object of our hate. How do we address our apprehension and fear of those we perceive as Other, those of a different race, religion, gender, socio‑economic class, sexual orientation, or physical ability? By dwelling together in mutual regard for the common good while we celebrate the richness of the unique gifts we bring to one another.
Ultimately, the only way to begin to realize the dream of a diverse, multi‑cultural community living in peace and prosperity is to dwell together side by side. Mutual understanding and respect become possible through dwelling together in the same time and space while we share the same food, songs, stories, hopes, and fears as we look into one another's eyes. Dwelling in proximity to one another is not a panacea for attaining harmony. But only when we have the opportunity to look into one another's eyes can we know we have the same hopes and fears.
Through dwelling and sharing together, we can learn to affirm and celebrate each as a living embodiment of the one God. We can come to repent of our prejudice and discrimination, seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and bind together in a common future.
We can realize that in fact there is no Other; there is only Us.
Rev. Paul S. Allen, Pastor Emeritus, Winnetka Congregational Church
Pat Armbruster, Member, Northbrook Baha’i Community
Rev. Dr. Robin Brown, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Glenview
Rev. Robert G. Burkhart, Retired United Methodist Pastor, Morton Grove
Rev. Sarah Sarchet Butter, Sr. Pastor,
Rev. Susan Chamberlin Smith, Trinity United Church of Christ, Deerfield
The Rev. Daphne Cody, Rector, St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church, Glencoe
Rabbi Dr. Paul F. Cohen, Temple Jeremiah, Northfield
Pastor Eric Dawson, St. Phillip Lutheran Church, Glenview
The Rev. Melissa Earley,
Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa, Glencoe
Linda Golder, Northbrook Community Relations Commission Liaison to the Northbrook Clergy Association
The Rev. Cynthia J. Hallas, , Northbrook
Jim Harrison, Curate, Christ Church, Winnetka
Pastor Suzan K. Hawkinson, First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield
Rev. Bob Heins, , Northbrook
Rabbi Sidney M. Helbraun, , Northbrook
Holy Cross Catholic Church, Rev. Vincent Costello, Pastor, Mary Ann Spina, Pastoral Associate, and Becky Phillips, Director of Faith Formation for Children and Youth; and Janice DiVincenzo, Principal, Holy Cross School, Deerfield
Rev. Blair Hull, Congregational Church in Deerfield
Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs and Gail Schechter, Executive Director, Winnetka
Stephen Jackson, Member, Deerfield Baha’i Community
Rev. Gary James, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield
Rabbi Allan Kensky and Cantor Pavel Roytman, , Wilmette
Rev. David Kyllo, Zion Lutheran Church, Deerfield
Rev. Betty E. Landis, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Evanston
The Rev. Lori M. Lowe, , Wilmette
Lorelei McClure, Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of Wilmette
The Rev. Joseph E. McInnis, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wilmette
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, Temple Judea Mizpah, Skokie
Rev. Karen Mosby-Avery, Second Baptist Church, Evanston
Rev. Richard Mosley, Jr., Hemenway United Methodist Church, Evanston
Rev Jeffry L. Phillips, St. John UCC Arlington Heights
Rev Rex Piercy and Rev. Constance Stewart, Congregational UCC, Arlington Heights
The Rev. William D. Roberts, St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Deerfield
Rev. Brian Roots, Christ United Methodist Church, Deerfield
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston
Rev. Dr. Ann Rosewell, First Congregational Church of Evanston UCC
Rabbi Isaac Serotta and Cantor Michael Davis, Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism, Highland Park
Pastor Jan Smith, , Northbrook
Puran Stevens, Representative of the Baha’is of Wilmette
Rev. Sarah Stumme and John Berg, , Northbrook
Rev. William J. Tkachuk, St. Nicholas Parish, Evanston
The Rev. Ron Valentine, St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Northfield
Rev. Stephanie Perdew VanSlyke, First Congregational Church of Wilmette, UCC
Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow, , Northbrook