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Reflections on New Zealand

March 20, 2019

Dear Friends,

With a heavy heart, I reflect on last Friday’s dreadful attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Once more we grieve with and for those who have lost friends and family members, just as we did after past atrocities fueled by bigotry and hatred. Words are inadequate to express the magnitude of these tragedies and their effects on people of faith around the world.

In the face of such ignorance and hatred, it is tempting, perhaps even easy, to become discouraged, or to succumb to fear and despair.

Although we will each cope with such news in a variety of ways, we must resist feeling numb and the urge to shut down. Instead, we must challenge ourselves, and each other, to remain engaged through times of deep sorrow. Within our communities and families, we must demonstrate kindness and love. We must uphold the values we cherish—including the rights of all people to worship freely. Without open minds and open hearts, we cannot hope to shine a light when confronted by those who would condemn us to the dark.


Valerie Smith