The following statement from the vestry and clergy of St. George’s Episcopal Church, Fredericksburg, Va., has been released in support of local Muslim neighbors who are facing prejudice and opposition as they practice their faith in peace and neighborly love. It is in response to the forum this week in which these neighbors (who have been worshiping in the area for 27 years) were insulted and verbally attacked as they were attempting to have a public dialogue about their plans to build a new mosque. Christ taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves. By making that statement, we bear witness to Christ our King who could see faith even in those who were not of his religion (Matthew 15:28). Our Muslim friends have, on numerous occasions, partnered with us in serving community dinners and participating in interfaith prayer events. That spirit of cooperation bears witness to God’s kingdom where all shall be fed and all shall be free. With Christ as our King, we are empowered to be ambassadors of wholeness in a fractured world. Here is the vestry’s statement:
In recognition that we are all children of God and that Christians and Muslims share a common faith ancestry, and in recognition that we Christians are called to love God and love our neighbors as ourselves, and in recognition that the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was written in our city of Fredericksburg, the vestry and clergy of St. George’s Episcopal Church extend our support to our Muslim friends and neighbors who are practicing their faith within our shared community. We stand for continuing dialogue that can acknowledge our connections as well as our differences and respect the dignity of every human being.
The Clergy and Vestry of St. George’s Episcopal Church:
The Rev. Joseph H. Hensley, Jr., Rector
The Rev. Gay H. Rahn, Associate Rector
The Rev. Deacon Carey Dougherty Chirico, Director of Outreach