Religious leaders calling for peace, unity amid unrest

Religious leaders calling for peace, unity amid unrest

BOSTON — Religious leaders in our community are speaking out calling for peace and unity during this time.​

“Many images break my heart,” explained Reverend Burns Stanfield, of the Fourth Presbyterian Church in South Boston. “The distress is, there’s real rage there and I hear that rage. It’s a chance for us to do a better job of working together to make our society better."

Religious leaders from several denominations are speaking out with a common theme.

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“It is our responsibility at this moment to stand up for injustice,” said Rabbi Claudia Kreiman of the Temple Beth Zion in Brookline. “Find the comfort. There’s so many of us doing that. That we’ll pray together, practice together peacefully and we will come together. We will also embrace the rage and anger of so many and help them.”

“It’s a chance for us to do a better job of working together to make our society better,” said Stanfield.

The Greek Orthodox Church in Boston released a statement Tuesday saying, in part:

"Let us pray for the courage and strength necessary to become instruments of love. Let us work together harmoniously to bring about justice in the face of inequality and discrimination."

As many places of worship in Massachusetts chose to remain closed for safety because of the pandemic, they’re reacting to President Trump’s visit to St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. Monday.

“It was appalling, it was even more appalling to see what he did to get there,” said Kreiman. “I saw the picture of him holding the Bible and seeing how these are being used as props.”

“The president held up a Bible. This Bible speaks over and over again about caring for the poor, caring for widows, caring for orphans, caring for strangers, immigrants,” said Stanfield. "If the president is going to stand in front of a church and hold up this book which is so precious to me, I wish he would work to care for the poor, to care for our orphans, to care for widows, to care for immigrants.

It's the concern about what's going on around them that is their focus right now.

“It’s hard at moments to have a message of hope, but we have to dig in and find it and this moment, the verse from the Bible, from the Torah, it’s really speaking to me and that I’m holding very, very close is one from Leviticus 19:16, ‘Do not stand idly while your neighbor bleeds,'" said Stanfield. "My message is one of hope but I like to remind our folks that hope is not just a sentiment but hope is a practice. We certainly have to care for each other which is already a challenge and it’s even more important now.”