January 30, 2017
To all of our Muslim brothers and sisters,
Our hearts overflow with sorrow for the victims of the shooting at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec last night. Shock and outrage mingle with our tears at this horrific act of terror perpetrated against innocent, faithful people. We are holding you all in our prayers at this most terrible time.
This heinous violent act and other recent attacks targeting Muslims in Quebec and elsewhere are designed to instill fear and division within and between our communities. We will not let this happen. The United Church of Canada stands with our Muslim neighbours. We share your grief, as we share your determination to stop the forces of hate that seek to divide and destroy us. Trusting in a compassionate and just God, we will resist fear and prejudice with love.
In love we reach out to you, our sisters and brothers, our fellow Canadians, to offer support and comfort. We open our hearts to you as we extend the hand of solidarity. We commit to redoubling our efforts to seek peace and justice for all peoples within and beyond Canada. We will work side by side with our neighbours of every faith and of no faith to heal the brokenness that fractures our communities and forge bonds of friendship and cooperation.
You are not alone. As people of faith across this country hold prayer vigils for the victims of the shooting and their families, know that you are embraced by the arms of love.
May the Creator, Allah, God, who gives us our common humanity, give us the strength of spirit and will to walk in unity and love in these troubled times.
In peace and solidarity,
The Right Reverend Jordan Cantwell
The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du
Message of London Muslims to the Christian Community of London, Ontario
As we come upon the season of festivities for many of our neighbors and friends who are
celebrating and commemorating the birth of Jesus this time of year, it is important to recognize and
emphasize the commonalities that exist between us as Muslims and Christians in order to spread the
message of mercy, love and peace that both Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them, brought forth
to humankind. In the Qur’an, Jesus is referred to as ‘Isa the son of Maryam (Mary), both of whom are
held in high esteem within the Islamic tradition. Although there are clear theological differences
between Islam and Christianity in terms how Jesus and Mary are perceived, Muslims are obliged to
believe in and affirm the greatness of Jesus and his mother, along with the miracles associated with them
that are described in detail in the Qur’anic scripture. Both Jesus and Muhammad are referred to as
Prophets of “great resolve” and the virgin Mary was described by the Prophet Muhammad as one of the
best of women ever to set foot on this earth. This year, the Islamic month of Rabi’ al-Awwal, the birth
month of the Prophet Muhammad, also falls in December. So as Christians remember the birth of Jesus,
Muslims commemorate the birth of Muhammad, who also came with a message of Love and Mercy
from the Divine, and seek to emulate his exemplary character and ways in dealing with everyone. This
presents an opportunity for collective reflection and mutual understanding between Muslims, Christians
and all other people along with a chance to ponder on what it means to exemplify the qualities of great
men such as Jesus and Muhammad, peace be upon them, and to live the message of loving compassion
they both brought to the world. In this way, we may collectively work together towards living in a state
of peace and benefit for all people and in all places. At this time, on behalf of the Muslim community
of London, Ontario, we would like to wish all of our fellow Christian Londoners and Canadians, and
indeed all of our brothers and sisters in humanity, regardless of religion, race, or creed, a joyous and
happy holidays and a prosperous new year.
In peace and sincerity,
Abd Alfatah Twakkal , Imam, London Muslim Mosque , Dr. Jamal Taleb
Imam, Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario
Many of you have no doubt heard about the devastation which has occurred in Haiti and the surrounding countries in the Caribbean. This email is to inform you that the United Church of Canada has launched a full appeal to assist our Mission & Service partners in those areas as they work to make a real difference in the lives of hurting people.
Donations can also be made by telephone with a Visa or MasterCard, or by cheque. Please be sure to note on your cheque that the donation is for “Emergency Response—Hurricane Matthew.”
Upadate in November ; Thanks to your generosity, as of November 8, 2016 the United Church has received over $100,000 for emergency relief, rebuilding, and rehabilitation. In rapid response the church has sent $20,000 to our partners from the Emergency Response Fund and is appealing for donations and is encouraging prayers throughout the church. The United Church works with long-standing local partners who have well-established and trusted distribution networks on the ground, including in remote communities. These partners work diligently to ensure the donations they administer reach the most vulnerable communities in the greatest need as quickly as possible. Following the 2010 earthquake the United Church provided more than $4 million dollars in assistance to Haiti.
Members of ACT Alliance are already in place in Haiti, assisting those affected by the hurricane. The United Church’s direct partners in the Haiti are The Methodist Church of Haiti and The Karl Lévêque Cultural Institute (ICKL). In Cuba, the Cuban Council of Churches leads the ACT Alliance response. Financial assistance from the appeal may also be provided to church partners in other Caribbean countries affected by Hurricane Matthew.
More information and an on-line donation portal can be found at http://www.united-church.ca/hurricane-matthew
Syrian refugee update from the United Church of Canada – Dec 1 2016
As of Advent 2016, UC congregations in Canada have raised over $8 million to sponsor more than 900 refugees. In addition more than $1 million was raised for the Syrian Refugee appeal for helping out Mission & Service partners assisting refugee camps. ( source – advent letter from Moderator – received late Nov. )
To donate to M&S – go to UC web site or call 800-268-3781 x 2738.
Locally there are many United Church’s sponsoring Syrian families or fundraising to support other church’s. ie Calvary United, Byron United to name a few. If you want to help Calvary, the contact there is Steve Hebden at 519-636-8814.
For More Information – For more information about this humanitarian crisis and for details about how to make a donation, please visit The United Church of Canada’s webpage on the Syria Refugee Appeal.
See the thoughts of our new Moderator, the Right Rev Jordan Cantwell on this issue and 3 steps you can take to help. Moderator’s thoughts and plans re Refugee crisis