Pittsburgh: Statement from the House of Bishops

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A Statement from the House of Bishops of The Anglican Church of Canada Concerning the Events in Pittsburgh Over the Weekend

On Sunday, 28 October 2018, The Most Reverend Colin Johnson wrote the following statement, which has been adopted by the members of the National House of Bishops in the name of the Primate.

Jonathan Sacks, former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, who addressed the world-wide Anglican bishops at the Lambeth Conference in 2008, wrote this: “If you cannot recognise the image of God in a person who does not look or think like you, then you have made God into your own image and have begun to worship an idol.”

Yesterday’s killing of Jews in Pittsburgh while they were at Sabbath prayers was a horrifying event that affects all of us. No life – whether in Pittsburgh or on the streets of Toronto or in the bush on a reserve or in the cities of Syria or South Sudan – no life is expendable.

Anti-Semitism has a long and terrible history in our Christian tradition. It is still alive in too many places and in too many hearts. It should have no place in the hearts and minds of Christians today. I call you to pray for those who have died, for those who grieve the loss of loved ones, for those are caught in the web of anger and hatred. I call on us to challenge words of prejudice and hatred spoken in public or behind closed doors. I call on us to extend hands of friendship and compassion not only to friend but stranger. I call us to act for reconciliation in places of brokenness and pain.

Rabbi Sacks also wrote this: “All the high ideals in the world –the human as God’s image, belief in God’s unity, and the love of neighbours –count for little until they are turned into habits of action that become habits of the heart.”  (Lessons in Leadership)

Jesus said, “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

By General Synod Communications


  1. Doug Woods on 23 November 2018 at 11:36 AM

    If you follow events in the news, anti-Semitism is only the tip of the iceberg: anti-Islamism, racism, sexism … and the list goes on. This is not for a moment to minimize the seriousness of any of these. If anything, it’s horrifying to think we still live with these things. We need, more than ever, to step up and speak up. It’s always hard to be the first one, but you’d be surprised at how many will step up with you once you’ve spoken up. My faith says, love God and your neighbour with all your heart. We need to be really intentional about that every day.

    • Father Glenn on 23 November 2018 at 11:54 AM

      Very well-stated, Doug. Your observations, it seems to me, are very accurate. I also think that generally there is a lot of anti-faith anti-religion) stuff out there and main-line Christianity is also taking a hit. For the most part, this is not manifesting in the same nasty manner as it is for other faith groups. It is much more latent. And, this comment is not to minimize the more evident and troubling “isms” that are adversely affecting our society. They are, as you indicate, “the tip of an iceberg”.

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