Interfaith Clergy Letter to the Editor in Clark County

(This is a letter a group of us from Clark County wrote in response to some of the controversy surrounding September 11th this past week. We submitted it to our local papers which did not pick it up so I thought I’d post it here.)
This year, a small group of clergy in Clark County began gathering monthly to learn from one another and to support one another as community leaders.   As an interfaith group, we honor and celebrate the religious traditions and spiritual paths of all people in our community.

For many people of faith, this week includes two major religious holidays with Rosh Hashanah for the Jewish community and Eid al-Fitr for the Islamic community.   However, this week is also charged by the memories of 9/11, plans to build a community center and prayer space in a building 2 blocks from Ground Zero and the furor over threats to burn The Qu’ran, the sacred Muslim text, by a pastor and his followers in Florida.   We are grieved at some Americans’ misunderstanding of one of the world’s largest religions. We celebrate the rich diversity within all faith traditions.  We stand together to honor the Islamic Society of Southwest Washington and all Muslims who are our neighbors.
Our group is thankful for the religious freedom upon which this country was founded. We are also thankful that in Clark County we have the privilege to go to a synagogue, a mosque, a church, or gather in homes for services and then meet in the aisle at the grocery store or the ball field and be friends. All of our traditions have an amazing commonality of being grounded in love flowing from a loving God. The Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is found in each of our traditions.

Our lunch gatherings are a sacred place as we openly share the centrality of our faith in our lives and as we listen respectfully to and learn from one another.   We encourage all people of faith in Clark County to support one other, promote respect, tolerance and peace, and to spread caring and compassion with everyone, everywhere.

Rev. Dr. Brooks Berndt, First Congregational United Church of Christ
Rev. Dennis Cole, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Pastor C. Wess Daniels, Camas Friends Church
Rabbi Elizabeth Dunsker, Congregation Kol Ami
Rev. Shelly Fayette, Church of the Good Shepherd (Episcopal)
Rev. Mark Gallagher, Unitarian Universalist Church of Vancouver
Reverend Rick Jaech, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church
Dr. Khalid Khan, Islamic Society of Southwest Washington
Rev. Gary Lazzeroni, St. Joseph Catholic Church
Rev. Gwen Morgan, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center
Rev. Mark Randall, Salmon Creek United Methodist Church
Rev. Tom Tucker, United Methodist Church
Wilbur Wood, Quaker