Tomorrow my congregation, Hopedale Unitarian Parish, will hold its annual joint worship service with the congregational church in Hopedale. During the service we will read a pastoral letter to all who live, work, and do business in Hopedale issued and authored by all three Hopedale, MA clergy: myself, Rev. Sarah Hubbell of Union Evangelical Christian Church and Fr. Bill Konicki of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish. Here is the letter:
We, the clergy of the Hopedale, MA congregations, write with a united pastoral voice speaking to all who live, work, and do business in our town, calling all of us to reject bigotry, hatred, and violence.
Since its founding, Hopedale, MA has been a community dedicated to shared community life and the ideals of respect and peace among all people. Even when labor and management did not always agree during the era of the Draper corporation, Hopedale retained a spirit of cooperation and community that was inclusive of all, regardless of their economic or political views. Since that time, Hopedale has continued to be a welcoming community.
The recent presidential campaign and election has subjected the nation to a constant barrage of inflammatory rhetoric. In its wake, there has been a rise in hateful speech and hurtful, and even violent behavior directed at immigrants and refugees, people of color, people of different ethnicities, of different genders and sexual orientations, and political persuasions. Many of our friends and neighbors, even members of our families and our congregations are afraid for their safety because of who they are or what they look like, where they’re from or what religion they practice.
As faith leaders in this community we pledge to reject hatred and racism. Our various faith traditions call us to challenge and resist those who would harass, intimidate, or harm immigrants and refugees, people of color, our transgender and LGBQIA brothers and sisters, and our Muslim and Jewish siblings in faith. We pledge to rebuke and rebuff those who create discord by demeaning and attacking others. We promise to work together to protect and defend all who may be targeted because of who they are.
We pledge to work together to keep Hopedale a place of peace where everyone is welcomed, accepted, and respected. We promise to affirm the differences that some would use to divided us. We call on you, all the people of Hopedale, to join us in our promises to reject discrimination and violence of thought, word and deed. We call on you to join us in affirming the dignity and worth of all people as equal children of God.
Yours in faith,
Fr. William Konicki
Rev. Sarah Hubbell
Rev. Anthony Lorenzen