Over the weekend an anti-Semitic act of vandalism occurred at the Grand Marc apartment building complex where many students live. A star of David and the German word for “Jews” was spray painted at the entrance in yellow, a combination which was used to terrorize Jewish people in Nazi Germany. Many in the university community were quick to condemn the act and send notes of love and solidarity to the Jewish groups on grounds. The Student Council and Dean Groves also released statements.
This year I am honored to serve as President of United Ministries, the collegium of interfaith ministers serving the University of Virginia. We meet monthly and just last week were hosted by the Muslim Student Advisor, Aliaa Khidr, at the mosque downtown. Her students have also faced emboldened bigotry, especially young women in hijab, one of whom was threatened with violence while walking home. We spoke about how we might create more equity among our group as ministers, who are predominantly Christian and white. The group is deeply committed to this and I am glad to serve at Westminster, as we are deeply committed to this.
I also released a statement on behalf of UKirk, condemning these hateful acts, and I invite you all to join me in praying for our students and our community.
We stand with our Jewish brother and sisters. We are committed to living the action of love and calling out hatred, racism, anti-semitism, homophobia/transphobia and islamophobia. We lament the bodily and spiritual violence that U.Va. students have experienced this year. Living God, renew us in joy to know we are made in your image and held in your beloved-ness along with all our neighbors, colleagues, friends and those we find difficult to engage. May we live in the freedom and joy of your grace. May we create beauty in and with our community to make us resilient to hate and fear. Amen.