More than 50 Religious Leaders Issue Sept. 11 Statement for Unity

Members of Religious Leaders Acting Together for Equality (RELATE) issue a joint public statement in recognition of the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Religious communities and leaders in the Northern Suburbs of Chicago joined all in the U.S. and people of good will across the world in grieving the terrible acts of September 11, 2001. We found these crimes against humanity to be horrendous and contrary to the core teachings of our faith traditions. 

RELATE (Religious Leaders Acting Together for Equality) is 52 religious leaders of Baha'i, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant denominations from 12 northern suburbs. As a collective body of religious leaders, we originally penned this statement as a response to vicious hate crimes, including the murder of Ricky Byrdsong, on the North Shore in July 1999. Our goal in publishing this Joint Public Statement was to declare our common commitment to developing a diverse, multi-cultural community where all might dwell in harmony, peace, and abundance. We have re-released it since then when the times called for it, as they certainly did on Sept. 11, 2001. 

Joint Statement of Religious Leaders

Today, on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of these attacks, we call for continuing prayers for peace and unity in these difficult and uncertain times.

We abhor the stereotype‑based assumptions made about and actions taken against people of any particular faith tradition, ethnicity, or nation of origin. 

We urge people in our faith communities to be especially careful when they speak to children about these crimes against humanity and those who committed these horrendous acts. 

Even in our anger, we must not begin to hate.

If fear of the Other is not addressed, then the Other becomes less than human in our eyes and an object of our hate. How do we address our apprehension and fear of those we perceive as Other, those of a different race, religion, gender, socio‑economic class, sexual orientation, or physical ability? By dwelling together in mutual regard for the common good while we celebrate the richness of the unique gifts we bring to one another.

Ultimately, the only way to begin to realize the dream of a diverse, multi‑cultural community living in peace and prosperity is to dwell together side by side. Mutual understanding and respect become possible through dwelling together in the same time and space while we share the same food, songs, stories, hopes, and fears as we look into one another's eyes. Dwelling in proximity to one another is not a panacea for attaining harmony. But only when we have the opportunity to look into one another's eyes can we know we have the same hopes and fears.

Through dwelling and sharing together, we can learn to affirm and celebrate each as a living embodiment of the one God. We can come to repent of our prejudice and discrimination, seek forgiveness and reconciliation, and bind together in a common future. 

We can realize that in fact there is no Other; there is only Us.


Rev. Paul S. Allen, Pastor Emeritus, Winnetka Congregational Church

Pat Armbruster, Member, Northbrook Baha’i Community

Rev. Dr. Robin Brown, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Glenview

Rev. Robert G. Burkhart, Retired United Methodist Pastor, Morton Grove

Rev. Sarah Sarchet Butter, Sr. Pastor,

Rev. Susan Chamberlin Smith, Trinity United Church of Christ, Deerfield

The Rev. Daphne Cody, Rector, St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church, Glencoe

Rabbi Dr. Paul F. Cohen, Temple Jeremiah, Northfield

Pastor Eric Dawson, St. Phillip Lutheran Church, Glenview

The Rev. Melissa Earley,

Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa, Glencoe

Linda Golder, Northbrook Community Relations Commission Liaison to the Northbrook Clergy Association

The Rev. Cynthia J. Hallas, , Northbrook
Jim Harrison, Curate, Christ Church, Winnetka

Pastor Suzan K. Hawkinson, First Presbyterian Church of Deerfield

Rev. Bob Heins, , Northbrook

Rabbi Sidney M. Helbraun, , Northbrook

Holy Cross Catholic Church, Rev. Vincent Costello, Pastor, Mary Ann Spina, Pastoral Associate, and Becky Phillips, Director of Faith Formation for Children and Youth; and Janice DiVincenzo, Principal, Holy Cross School, Deerfield

Rev. Blair Hull, Congregational Church in Deerfield

Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs and Gail Schechter, Executive Director, Winnetka

Stephen Jackson, Member, Deerfield Baha’i Community

Rev. Gary James, North Shore Unitarian Church, Deerfield

Rabbi Allan Kensky and Cantor Pavel Roytman, , Wilmette

Rev. David Kyllo, Zion Lutheran Church, Deerfield

Rev. Betty E. Landis, St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Evanston

The Rev. Lori M. Lowe, , Wilmette

Lorelei McClure, Spiritual Assembly of the Bahai's of Wilmette

The Rev. Joseph E. McInnis, St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wilmette

Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler, Temple Judea Mizpah, Skokie

Rev. Karen Mosby-Avery, Second Baptist Church, Evanston

Rev. Richard Mosley, Jr., Hemenway United Methodist Church, Evanston

Rev Jeffry L. Phillips, St. John UCC Arlington Heights

Rev Rex Piercy and Rev. Constance Stewart, Congregational UCC, Arlington Heights

The Rev. William D. Roberts, St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, Deerfield

Rev. Brian Roots, Christ United Methodist Church, Deerfield

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston

Rev. Dr. Ann Rosewell, First Congregational Church of Evanston UCC

Rabbi Isaac Serotta and Cantor Michael Davis, Lakeside Congregation for Reform Judaism, Highland Park

Pastor Jan Smith, , Northbrook

Puran Stevens, Representative of the Baha’is of Wilmette

Rev. Sarah Stumme and John Berg, , Northbrook

Rev. William J. Tkachuk, St. Nicholas Parish, Evanston

The Rev. Ron Valentine, St. James the Less Episcopal Church, Northfield

Rev. Stephanie Perdew VanSlyke, First Congregational Church of Wilmette, UCC

Rabbi Eitan Weiner-Kaplow, , Northbrook

Winnetka September 13, 2011 at 07:03 PM
Well put. Social justice tyranny/victim industry belongs on that trash heap as well.
Tom September 15, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Funny, I don't see any Muslim groups in that list.
Richard Schulte September 15, 2011 at 08:25 PM
Mr. Kent, you omitted "(human-caused) global warming" from the list of idiotic beliefs above. Somebody, I forget who, told me that, if "global warming" is occurring, the likely cause was the Sun. Can you imagine that, the Sun causing global warming? How utterly common sensical that the Sun might be the cause of global warming.
Jennifer Mcquet October 19, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Winnetka - Please stop making blanket posts with "I'm the Village" sobriquet. You do not speak for Winnetka or all Winnetkans. If you're going to share the strong -- very, very strong opinions that you do -- please also be strong enough to use your real name.
blackwidow October 20, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Winnetka: Where did your other post go? You made an absurd allegation that shows a lack of understanding of basic United States (and Native American) history. Can you please re-post it so that I can respond appropriately?


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