Joint statement on Tree of Life Synagogue Mass Shooting

The Chaplaincy Innovation Lab endorses and shares here a joint statement on this past’s weekend’s horrific events:

As associations committed to the spiritual care of people of all faiths and those who have none, we unequivocally denounce the anti-Semitism that fueled the hateful murders of eleven people last Saturday. We honor the sacred spaces and the gift of Shabbat and are horrified by the events at Tree of Life Synagogue. We represent over 10,000 spiritual care givers who are often the first responders when victims and their families come to hospitals, who stay in those hospitals with physicians and staff, who receive them in clinical settings for on-going post-traumatic care, caring for all of the members of our communities well past the moment of crisis. We ask that our political and faith leaders stand with us in rejecting this heinous act and work with us to be about “tikkun olam,” the Hebrew expression for the work of healing the world.

ACPE, American Association of Pastoral Counselors, Association of Professional Chaplains, Canadian Association for Spiritual Care/Association Canadienne de soins spirituels, National Association of Catholic Chaplains, Neshama: Association of Jewish Chaplains


Updated November 1: In the wake of the shootings, religious leaders in Pittsburgh’s Hill District gathered on October 29 to denounce the violence and call for unity. Among them were several chaplains. From TribLive:

Several black church pastors and chaplains drew connections between hatred against religious groups with racism against people of color.

“The xenophobic that we’re dealing with today is a decedent of racism,” said Pittsburgh police Chief Chaplain John Welch, “and so until we deal with racism … we will continue to deal with the xenophobia that we are experiencing.”

The Rev. Delphia Blackburn, a police chaplain who helped console the synagogue victims’ families in hospital waiting rooms, recalled running from violence targeting black students decades ago when she attended Taylor Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill.

“That all needs to stop,” she said. “We are people, we are human, we are children of God.”

Read more at TribLive.