On the 2nd February 2017 Faith and Community Leaders (along with members of their communities) were invited to join together as a symbol of our unity. We committed to signing a joint public statement which has since been sent out to the faith groups throughout the London Borough of Hillingdon and beyond for individuals and groups to add their names to a growing list of those committed to unity within diversity.
Standing Together – Joint Statement
We the undersigned have different faiths and beliefs yet are united in our humanity. We stand together and with our different voices seek to welcome neighbours and strangers with compassion and love.
We recognise and affirm the role of governments to manage and maintain borders but do not consider vetting and kindness to be incompatible.
We stand together in our opposition to discriminatory language, actions and abuse.
We stand together in our longing for justice, mercy and humility.
We stand together in our support and welcome to refugees, asylum seekers, aliens and strangers.
We stand together seeking to love our neighbours as ourselves.
“In every prayer service, Jews recall the Exodus from Egypt as a key metaphor for our redemption as a People on countless occasions and for the priceless gift of freedom. Of more recent times, international Holocaust Memorial Day reminds of the dangers of bystanding. That the genocide against the Jewish People of Europe by the Nazis, and the many others targeted by them, disabled people, those with black skin, gay and lesbian, communist, Roma and Sinti people was partly born of society that became immune to pernicious hatred growing within. And the world has allowed genocide to occur since in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur. I am writing as a rabbi, a religious leader, of our Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue to give our support to initiative in our Borough of Hillingdon to clearly state our opposition to the demonisation of the ‘other,’ the targeting of human beings for one aspect of their complex identity, and the refusal to acknowledge that we are all One. As People of faith, we stand in opposition to the spiteful rhetoric in our own country and in the USA and ready to act against policies of governments that promote exclusivity and hatred. We will not be bystanders.”
Rabbi Aaron Goldstein and Rabbi Lea Muhlstein (Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue)
“On behalf of the Church of England in NW London, I send you my greetings, and write to express my support for your desire to express opposition to President Trump’s divisive policies, and solidarity with, and love for, our Muslim neighbours and friends.
I am with you in your desire to demonstrate that the Christian Church in Yiewsley and West Drayton, the London Borough of Hillingdon and the Diocese of London wish to be a welcoming and caring community and to demonstrate publicly our unity with all people – those of faith and those of none.
I hope we will be able to say in any statement that the Bible and the tradition of the Church is unequivocal in its support and welcome for refugees, aliens and strangers; that our friends in the great Abrahamic faith of Islam are our neighbours, to be welcomed and not banned; and that we are deeply concerned at the divisive, anti-Islamic and isolationist policies being pursued in the USA by President Trump and his regime.
I hope the meeting tonight goes well.”
Pete Broadbent (Bishop of Willesden & Deputy Bishop of London)
I am really sorry not to be with you this evening, as this is a really important occasion for our community. I’d like to express my thanks to Rich for taking the initiative to call us together. Sadly, this coincides with a farewell service for the Bishop of London at St Paul’s Cathedral which members of St Matthew’s are attending along with Church of England members from across London.
Like so many millions of people across the world I have been shocked and angered by President Trump’s actions this week. No one disputes that any responsible government must take proportionate actions to protect its citizens from security threats. But issuing a blanket ban on every resident of 7 countries is totally disproportionate, discriminatory and wrong.
I’m particularly shocked by the way in which President Trump’s actions have targeted refugees. I think it should be one of the marks of a civilised nation that it is willing to reach out and offer hospitality and refuge to people in their times of greatest need. One of the reasons why many western nations such as the United States and the UK have taken just that approach in the past is because of their Christian heritage. In so many places in the Bible, we are urged to welcome the stranger especially when they face desperate need. So like Rich, I am embarrassed and ashamed that President Trump appears to draw support for his actions from large sections of the Christian community in the U.S. To me, the President’s policy (and the attitudes that give rise to it) are inconsistent with the Christian faith.
I hope that those of you attending this evening who follow a different faith or no faith would hear that message loud and clear from the Christians who are present.
At St Matthew’s we aim to follow values which we believe are consistent with the teachings of Jesus. One of those is as follows:
We seek to be welcoming: offering a warm and friendly welcome to all, regardless of age, gender, orientation, ethnicity, disability or social background, and reflecting the diversity of our community.
May God bring his peace and blessing on our community as we gather together.
Richard Young (Vicar, St Matthew’s Yiewsley)