Merrimack Valley Clergy Condemn ‘Wave of Activity by White Supremacist Groups’

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Merrimack Valley Clergy Against Racism and Antisemitism is condemning what it calls “a recent wave of activity by white supremacist groups in our valley and our Commonwealth” and invites support from other congregations.

A statement notes area clergy join with “all people of good will and local law enforcement” to say “antisemitism and anti-Blackness have no place in our valley and will not be tolerated.”

“This activity has been violent in some cases; in others, it was meant to intimidate some of us and our Jewish and Black siblings. These white supremacist groups may also be trying to recruit new people to worship at the altar of hate and delusion,” the statement read.

It was signed by Rev. Lee Bluemel, minister, North Parish of North Andover, Unitarian Universalist; Rev. Dana Allen Walsh, senior pastor, South Church in Andover; Fr. Vart Gyozalyan, pastor, Armenian Apostolic Church at Hye Pointe, Haverhill; Rev. Frank Clarkson, Pastor, UU Church, Haverhill; Rev. Kenneth M. Young, pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Haverhill; Rev. John W. Delaney, pastor, Sacred Hearts Parish, Bradford; and Cantor Vera Broekhuysen, Temple Emanu-El of Haverhill.

The statement did not specify particular events, but there have been recent reports of swastikas in various communities, such as North Andover; the shooting of two black Winthrop residents June 26; stabbing of Rabbi Shlomo Noginski last week in Brighton; and armed intimidation by white supremacists during the Black & Brown Owned Outdoor Market in Haverhill.

“We stand against hate and we stand together, along with hundreds of members of our congregations. We are not going to stop worshipping each in our own way, celebrating life and God with deep and abiding joy. We are also deepening our connections, mutual care and vigilance across our various congregations, faiths, ethnicities and geographical boundaries. We pray that all confused and deluded souls will turn towards love, not hate,” the statement adds.

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