BY Peter Diamond | November 16 2018 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Archbishop stresses unity during visit to synagogue

Two weeks after US attack on Jews, religious leaders gather at inter-faith event

‘NO matter what religion we are loyal to it’s ultimately God that directs and nourishes us in our daily lives’ was the message given by Archbishop Philip Tartaglia of Glasgow as he gathered with Scotland’s religious leaders at Giffnock Synagogue.

Speaking during a meeting with the heads of the Episcopalian, Church of Scotland and Jewish communities in Scotland, Archbishop Tartaglia said that the ‘common good that unites us is a powerful force.’

Interfaith Week Scotland takes place from Sunday November 11 to 18. The religious leaders’ gathering on Tuesday November 13 took place three weeks after 11 Jewish worshippers were killed at a synagogue in the United States.

Scotland’s head Rabbi Rubin Moshe of Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue invited Archbishop Tartaglia, the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop Mark Strange, and Church of Scotland Moderator Rev Susan Brown, to attend the Schul to learn more about the Jewish community and share Faith experiences.

Rabbi Rubin spoke candidly about the effects of the recent shooting in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were killed while attending a prayer service, or Shabat.

The shooting was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in the United States and Rabbi Rubin, who was born and lived in Brooklyn, New York, until he was 13, told the other religious leaders the warmth he has received from people of all Faiths who have reached out to offer deepest sympathies has been an immense support to him and the Jewish congregation.



Following a tour of the synagogue, the religious leaders spoke openly about what unites them despite their differences.

Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow said: “I think it’s important to remember no matter what religion we are loyal to it’s ultimately God that directs and nourishes us in our daily lives and on different perspectives of certain issues, God is talking and guiding us all in our daily lives.

“Ultimately, that is the truth of the matter and it is therefore up to our Churches, Synagogues and Kirk to take that message of a ‘common good’ to the doorsteps of those who don’t believe.

“In a world that has so much devastation we each believe our religion has the truth to finding peace and happiness, but our differences are not the cause of conflict and dispute.

“Here today we are gathered as that witness of a desire for men and women of different religions to promote harmony, especially during Interfaith Week.

“Our role within civic society can help expose people of every class and denomination to a platform in which they can be informed of God’s message of hope and the common good which is a powerful force to unite people.

“As we sit together this morning discussing our Faiths we are grateful for the things we have in common and can be thankful for positive relationships which now exist between different religions and denominations.”


Common good

Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church. Bishop Mark Strange, who is based in Inverness, said: “The common good is values of hope, faith and love which each religion holds with great esteem.

“What is clear this morning is that, in an age where people communicate through technology, it is still vital for people to meet face to face and speak about things.

“The things that unite us are a belief in something Sacred and we respect the different stance of each religion in a country that promotes that dialogue and discourse.

“It was very fascinating being given a guided tour by Rabbi Ruben and to hear about the different format of what rituals and practices take place within the Synagogue.”

Senior Rabbi of Scotland, Rabbi Rubin of Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue said: “What is key to the discussion of atheism is that there is research out there that suggests the majority of people, even though they are not religious, still pray.

“Everyone is capable of prayer. I saw it when I was at the Cenotaph for Armistice Sunday. There were thousands of people there of all faith and little faith—and I say little faith because I believe we all have some faith within us.

“There were plenty of people who don’t believe in God, or said they don’t believe, but they’re still praying for those close to them who have gone before them. It’s part of humanity and it’s a message which people should be reminded of more often.”

Scotland’s bishop for inter-religious dialogue, who is attending many of the Interfaith Week events this week, reminded Catholics that dialogue between faiths makes an important contribution to peace in the world.

Archbishop Emeritus Mario Conti, chair of the Bishops’ Committee for Inter-Religious Dialogue, said: “Even as I write, America, and indeed all of us, are reeling from the news that 11 members of the Jewish community have been murdered while worshipping in their Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Such prejudice and hatred is unfortunately very prominent in our society today.

“We know from the teaching of the Second Vatican Council and from the example of Pope Francis and his predecessors that interreligious dialogue plays an important part in the life of the Church and is a contribution to peace in our world.”

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