Letter: Interfaith Witness

Editor: We are Loudoun County, and we love Loudoun County. We want all our citizens to be safe and to feel that they belong.

We are a diverse cadre of faith leaders—Christian, Protestant, Jewish, Baha’i, Sikh, Unitarian Universalist, and Muslim—who have been working together on building interfaith relationships. We do this for Loudoun County in the hope of creating a strong and deeply connected community that is prepared to respond to tragedy and change with understanding, compassion and love.

One of the most turbulent times in the history of our growing and changing community was the aftermath of Sept. 11. Fear, for obvious reasons, gripped our citizens. During that time, our Muslim and Sikh brothers and sisters felt the brunt of anti-Muslim rhetoric and action. Many children and families experienced violence, threats to their lives, and threats to their livelihoods. Today, fear is again gripping our citizenry, and threats are again rising, in similar and more divisive manners.

We assert our commitment to one another, and the relationships we have worked ardently to build. We refuse to see the terrorism of extremist elements as representative of any whole faith tradition. Each of us can trace our own faith histories to find times when individuals acted in ways wholly counter to our faith’s project.

While loud voices rage against our Muslim brothers and sisters, we raise prayers and meditations that invite us to reestablish relationship, and secure the safety of our community. A safe community is a united community, that honors the inherent worth and dignity of every participant.

Please join us in respect and love at our interfaith witness on Thursday, Dec. 17th, from 4-5:30 p.m., beginning at the Leesburg Presbyterian Church, and ending at the Courthouse.

Close to this date, many will honor the birth of Jesus. Others will have recently concluded Diwali and Hanukkah celebrations. Perhaps your witness will serve as a means for you to put the spirit of your holiday into action. Or perhaps you are simply called to stand with those who desperately need your support. Whatever conviction leads you, please stand with us in love, so that fear and hate do not sever the bonds that sustain our County.

In Support,

Rev. Anya Sammler Michael, The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Sterling;

The Rev. Don Prange, St. James United Church of Christ, Lovettsville;

Rev. David Milam, Pastor, St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, Purcellville;

Rev. Jacquelyn Hollingsworth, Pastor, Christ Chapel AME Church, Sterling;

Gurpreet Singh Brar, vice president Loudoun Interfaith BRIDGES

Harbans Singh, co-founder, Sikh Mission of Virginia

Rabbi Amy Sapowith Beth Chaverim Reform Congregation, Ashburn

Rabbi David Greenspoon, Congregation Sha’are Shalom, Leesburg

Revs. Phyllis Hubbell and John Parker Manwell, Unitarian Universalist Church of Loudoun

The Rev. Daniel Vélez-Rivera, St. Gabriel´s Episcopal Church, Leesburg

Syed Akhtar Alam, chair ADAMS-Ashburn, board member All Dulles Area Muslim Society

Rizwan Jaka, board chair, All Dulles Area Muslim Society

Rev. Debbie Parsons, Leesburg Presbyterian Church

Kurt Aschermann, Community Table of Loudoun

Pastor Dave Norman Crossroads United Methodist Church

Sheila Kryston, Goose Creek Friends Meeting, Lincoln

Nitin Dogra, Hindu American Seva Communities

Cathy Norman, Board of Directors, Loudoun Interfaith Bridges

Mike Trivett, Christian Fellowship Church, Ashburn

David Douthett, Pastor, Catoctin Presbyterian Church, Waterford

Pastor Sean Devolites, Pleasant Valley, UMC, Chantilly

Guru Sangat Singh Khalsa, Raj Khalsa Gurdwara, Sterling

Sher Singh, Executive Director, Raj Khalsa Gudwara, Sterling;

Rev. Jessica McClure Archer, associate pastor, St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Purceville

  • Rabbi Bonny Grosz, Community Rabbi Foundation
  • The Rev. Mark Feather, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Leesburg
  • The Rev. Kate Bryant, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Leesburg
  • The Rev. Holly Hanback, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Leesburg
  • Jim Wishmyer, Leesburg United Methodist Church, Leesburg
  • Molly Douthett, Furnace Mountain Presbyterian Church, Leesburg

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