While no one was physically hurt, this is a clear message meant to hurt, threaten, and harass the church and her people. The growing tolerance of derogatory language for sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and religious affiliation has direct and hurtful consequences. While those who perpetrate acts of hate think that their action affects only the intended object of their maliciousness, these acts harm the entire community.
Both the Morristown Police Department and neighbors of Redeemer have been a supportive and encouraging presence in response to the parish. Those efforts are much appreciated as the church prepares to celebrate Pride Month.
Last year I asked every parish in our diocese to observe five awareness months: Black History Month, Asian-American/Pacific Islander Heritage Month, Pride Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Native American Heritage Month. While my office offers suggestions and resources, each parish is invited to find its own way to celebrate the dignity of these diverse groups of people, many of whom are members of our church. Honoring awareness months is a vital component of our witness to the world about God’s love for all people.
I urge every parish to offer prayers, support, and encouragement to Church of the Redeemer. Donations for a new sign are being accepted on the church’s website or via mail (36 South Street, Morristown, NJ 07960). Finally, I ask us all to be mindful of the growing danger that some in our communities live with every day. Now is the time to watch out for the safety of our neighbors.
As we see in Genesis, God creates all of humankind and calls each person good. In our diocese, all are good and all are welcome. When I see our diversity, I see God’s goodness in each of you and who we are together. It is painful to see any of our churches and people hurt by hate, but I know that the people of our diocese will surround Church of the Redeemer with love, prayers, and support.
Grace and peace,
The Rt. Rev. Carlye J. Hughes
Bishop of Newark