Interfaith Vigil Held in East Austin for New Zealand Tragedy

Interfaith Vigil Held in East Austin for New Zealand Tragedy

Community stands together during vigil at St. James Episcopal Church in support and remembrance of the victims of the attack on two New Zealand mosques. Credit: Wendy Goodman

By Wendy Goodman

Hundreds of people from different faiths, cultures and religions gathered at St. James Episcopal Church the evening of March 16 for a vigil to support the victims of the March 15 New Zealand mosque shooting.

The vigil included remarks from local Muslim community leaders, Jewish and Christian clergy, an elected official and other faith-based groups.

Mayor Steve Adler spoke to the community on the importance of coming together in times of great tragedy. “The heart of this entire community is broken and our prayers and thoughts are with the families and those that died in New Zealand.”

“Several months ago, it was my Jewish community that had a vigil after the event in Pittsburgh, and I now know personally just how important it is that the community gathers and how entirely sufficient each and every individual is,” Adler told the crowd. “Our greatest threat is our silence in the face of false and hateful hyperbole.”

Rabbi Neil Blumofe, Congregation Agudas Achim senior rabbi, closed the evening by leading the crowd in a communal chant of solidarity while holding candles and standing together arm in arm. ■

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