(Mennonite Church USA) — A Dec. 14 article in The Mennonite, “Mennonites connect with Muslims in wake of attacks,” highlighted examples of Mennonite congregations building relationships with local Muslim communities.
“At a time when fears are being exploited for political gain,” says Ervin Stutzman, executive director of Mennonite Church USA, “I commend efforts by Mennonites to pursue relationships of peace and understanding with Muslims near and far, giving clear witness of our call to be disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Stutzman also references a Dec. 11 letter from the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), to the Muslim-American community. Eaton writes, “I am writing on behalf of many Christians in this country who wish to share a word of solidarity, love and hope with you in these difficult days.”
The ELCA has been an ecumenical partner of Mennonite Church USA since 2001, when the two denominations began a formal dialogue with each other.
Daryl Byler, executive director of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding of Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia, wrote an open letter to his former law school classmate Jerry Falwell, Jr., which was published Dec. 14 in the Richmond (Virginia) Times-Dispatch.
“It is an eloquent testimony to what a Christ-centered community that offers hospitality, welcome and understanding looks like,” Stutzman says.