Dear North Parish folks,
Kudos to John Lennhoff and all the others- including many North Parish folks- who put on a great July 4th event on the Common! I was out of town, celebrating my mom’s birthday with family from New Jersey, but I’ve heard it was well done and well received- a real achievement. Thank you!
A few local clergy gathered in early July in response to two incidents of white supremacy recruiting/intimidation in Haverhill, all the more threatening due to the hate incidents in Winthrop and Brookline. I’d like to share with you the prayer that was written to share among congregations; perhaps you can take a moment to read her beautiful language slowly.
“Source of Blessing,
We are grieved and angered
by the bold, violent displays of white supremacy and antisemitism
that have wounded our communities,
hate rising like summer heat.
We pray for strength to join our
hands, hearts and resources
in Your holy work of healing.
We pray to return together
to breath, which unites us
To resonate with each other’s needs and offerings
To make holy harmony of praise and thanks and communal commitment
that conquers fear’s clamour.
Together, may we spread the shelter of just peace
over every body and soul in our
beloved Merrimack Valley.
Make us Your partners in this time of our need.
Let love spring up like water in our land.
Bless us like this, we pray.
Together we say, Amen.”
Our community is not just for ourselves, is it? We are part of a network of congregations and other organizations that are springs where love bubbles up like water. I am grateful for you and for this web of connections and all the deep groundwaters of love. Below you can also find the public letter that I wrote on behalf of local interfaith clergy, to be shared widely in addition to Cantor Vera’s prayer.
Yours in the heat-and in the quiet coolness of evening as water drips off the leaves of trees,
Letter from Merrimack Valley Clergy Against Racism & Antisemitism
As clergy of many faiths living and serving in the Merrimack Valley, we have witnessed and learned about a recent wave of activity by white supremacist groups in our valley and our Commonwealth. This activity has been violent in some cases; in others, it was meant to intimidate some of us and our Jewish and Black siblings. These white supremacist groups may also be trying to recruit new people to worship at the altar of hate and delusion.
We stand against hate and we stand together, along with hundreds of members of our congregations. We are not going to stop worshipping each in our own way, celebrating life and God with deep and abiding joy. We are also deepening our connections, mutual care and vigilance across our various congregations, faiths, ethnicities and geographical boundaries. We pray that all confused and deluded souls will turn towards love, not hate.
We join with all people of good will and local law enforcement to state the obvious: Antisemitism and anti-Blackness have no place in our Valley and will not be tolerated. May we all be reminded to reach out to support one another in both prayerful and pragmatic ways. And may we continue to delight in one another, in our varied gifts and blessings, as we give thanks for life and give glory to God.
Rev. Lee Bluemel, Minister, North Parish of North Andover, Unitarian Universalist
Rev. Frank Clarkson, Pastor, UU Church of Haverhill
Rev. Kenneth M. Young, Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Haverhill, MA
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill
Rev. Dana Allen Walsh, Senior Pastor, South Church in Andover
Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, Pastor,The Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe, Haverhill, MA
Rev. John W. Delaney, Pastor, Sacred Hearts Parish, Bradford, MA