Tag Archives: Westport-Weston Clergy Association

Westport, Weston Clergy: “Let Us Not Sleep Through This Revolution

On this Independence Day, the Westport/Weston Clergy Association says:

In recent weeks many of us have come to a greater understanding of the constant, oppressive, life-threatening, structural racism endured by those among us who are black and brown.

Many of our ancestors endured a history of injustice and murder. Our black and brown siblings continue to face injustice and murder on a daily basis. Many of us thought we knew and understood. We have come to realize that we have so much more to understand, particularly those among us who have benefited from a system that favors whiteness.

In 1964 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. visited Westport at the invitation of Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein. In his address at Temple Israel he said, “One of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes… that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.”

Let us not sleep through this revolution.

This 1964 bnewspaper clipping shows Rev. Martin Luther King at Temple Israel. He’s flanked by Rabbi Byron T. Rubenstein (left) and congregation president Dan Rodgers.

Let us learn to oppose racism and bigotry with all our hearts, all our souls, all our might.

Let us become anti-racists, actively dismantling structures of inequality and injustice.

Let us one day look our children in the eye and tell them honestly that we did our part to create a world more righteous than the one we inherited.

Let each of our congregations commit to action, so that black people will no longer be, in the words of Rev. Dr. Bernard Wilson of Norfield Congregational Church in Weston, “treated as second-class citizens in the nation of our birth.”

It is not up to us to complete the work of repairing the world. But neither can we absent ourselves from it.

Clergy Association: No Compo Services This Summer

The Westport/Weston Clergy Association writes:

We express our gratitude to the wider community for the collective efforts to keep one another safe and prevent further spread of the doronavirus, and for all the kindness, patience and creativity that’s been expressed in response to the pandemic.

Each house of worship is developing its own plan for moving forward. The members of the Clergy Association share a commitment to move at a measured pace, protect and defend our most vulnerable populations and avoid further burdening our health care system. We are guided by faith traditions that call us to care for neighbors, to love and not to harm, and to save lives.

We are further committed to making decisions that are informed by science and by recommendations made by the governor, our town leaders, and by other authorities that govern our respective faiths and denominations.

We know that in-person, indoor worship is one of the types of gatherings most likely to spread the infection. For this reason, many of our houses of worship have already decided not to gather for indoor, in-person worship this summer.

This does not mean that our synagogues and churches are closed. Every community of faith has found creative ways to stay connected. We all strive to remain spiritually close, even while physically distant.

Each summer, our synagogues and churches look forward to the Westport tradition of worship on Compo Beach. While the governor’s guidelines have made exceptions for houses of worship that might have permitted us to gather, we have collectively decided to suspend Friday evening and Sunday morning worship at Compo.

Friday night Shabbat service at Compo Beach … (Photo courtesy of Temple Israel)

While disappointed, we came to the conclusion that we cannot reasonably hold an event that is open to the general public and typically draws more than 100 worshipers, while also adhering to state guidelines and our own commitment to keep the community safe.

Instead, several of our congregations are exploring ways to gather outside in safe, physically distant, and more controlled settings this summer.

We invite you to visit our individual websites to find all the opportunities for virtual worship, small group gatherings, outdoor services, and social action opportunities.

With blessings for health, safety, and spiritual connectedness,

The Westport/Weston Clergy Association

… and a Sunday morning service. (Photo courtesy of Saugatuck Congregational Church)

Silent Vigil Wednesday Morning For Las Vegas

The Westport Weston Clergy Association will gather downtown tomorrow morning (Wednesday, October 4, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.) on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge.

The goal is to show solidarity with the people of Las Vegas following Sunday night’s attack.

The group will hold the banner currently on display outside the United Methodist Church. It quotes Maya Angelou: “Hate has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it hasn’t solved one yet.”

All members of the community are invited to join in the silent prayer vigil, standing together against hate and violence.

The Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge is the site of Wednesday morning’s silent vigil.(Photo/Lynn U. Miller)

 

A Prayer For 9/11

As we remember the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Westport-Weston Clergy Association has prepared a prayer for the community.

The words will be recited in nearly 2 dozen churches and synagogues as an expression of unity, with thoughts of the victims and their families close at heart.

The clergy members add:  “If you are home-bound, we encourage you to recite this prayer with us from your home on September 11.  For those who can join us, please know that our doors are open and we look forward to welcoming you into our houses of worship with open arms.”

The 9/11 Prayer of Remembrance and Hope:

Dear God, we remember before you today those whose lives were lost in the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, and for all those whom we love but no longer see.  We give thanks to you for the selfless courage of those brave souls who ran into burning buildings and who labored in the rubble; may their courage be to us a witness of what is possible when we are guided by love and dedication to our fellow human beings.

We pray today for the continued healing of all those suffering emotional and physical scars.  May your spirit breathe new breath into clouded lungs, new life into troubled minds, and new warmth into broken hearts, so that all may feel wrapped in your loving embrace.  May we move from suffering to hope, from brokenness to wholeness, from anxiety to courage, from death to life, from fear to love, and from despair to hope.

Guide our feet into the way of peace.  Inspire us with hope in the gift of shalom and salaam.  May we receive this gift, so that we might become instruments of your peace in this world, knowing all people as equally loved, lovingly created, children of God.

Amen.