NHCC Letter on Antisemitism

In addition to gratitude from the Jewish Federation, ADL of New England and individual rabbis, this letter has received some media attention:

Download this letter in PDF format.

December 23, 2020

The New Hampshire Council of Churches is an ecumenical Christian body of nine diverse denominations, including Protestant, Unitarian Universalist and Orthodox traditions.

On the eve of Hanukkah, state Representative Dawn Johnson posted an antisemitic caricature on social media, originally posted on a Neo Nazi website. During the holiday, an attacker with a pellet gun vandalized a menorah at Dartmouth College.

As followers of Jesus, “born under the law” of Israel in Bethlehem (Galatians 4:4), we condemn antisemitic words and acts and stand with our Jewish neighbors whenever they are attacked.

As church leaders, we affirm that antisemitism has no place in our civil discourse, our elected bodies or in our churches. Our denominational bodies have each condemned antisemitism as an ideology. Many of our denominations also have taken steps to undo Christian antisemitism where ever it endures within our structures.

At the statewide level, the NH Council of Churches works together with the Jewish Federation of NH and the Jewish Clergy Association. This year, the Council worked alongside Jewish leaders to advocate passage of bill HB1135 (formerly SB727) in requiring Holocaust and genocide education in our schools. At the invitation of Governor Sununu, the Council has appointed a representative to the newly-formed Commission on Holocaust and Genocide Education.

We encourage witnesses of hate crimes of any kind to report them to local law enforcement and the Civil Rights Unit of the NH Department of Justice at https://www.doj.nh.gov/civil-rights.

Locally, many of our member congregations have fruitful relationships with their neighbor synagogues through participation in local interfaith councils. These relationships have deepened mutual understanding, love and community service together.

The Council on its own sponsored educational programs on Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran leader who gave his life in opposition to the Nazi regime. These programs help Christians to understand the deadly role of the silence and complicity that allow the hateful message of antisemitism to spread.

Finally, we affirm the unique relationship between Judaism and Christianity, like a tree and its branches (Romans 11). When others threaten the well-being of Jews, the well-being of Christians is also threatened. In the spirit of our shared well-being, we encourage all our congregations to express love, support and solidarity with their Jewish neighbors in their words and actions.

Yours in faith,

Rev. Jason Wells, Executive Director

Bishop James Hazelwood
New England Synod – ELCA Lutheran

Bishop A. Robert Hirschfeld
The Episcopal Church of New Hampshire

The Rev. Taesung Kang, Granite District Superintendent
New England Conference, The United Methodist Church

Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, Resource Presbyter
Presbytery of Northern New England, Presbyterian Church (USA)

Woullard Lett, Regional Lead
New England Region,
Unitarian Universalist Association

Noah Merrill, Secretary
New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers)

Rev. Gordon Rankin, Conference Minister
New Hampshire Conference, United Church of Christ