Synagogue gives gift to Episcopal parish

Most of the news today is about the Vatican’s new program that invites disaffected Anglicans into a special relationship with the Roman based church. But there’s also a lovely story of a Synagogue in Kansas who decided to reach out to support an Episcopal parish in need.

Nearly three years ago St. David’s Episcopal Church in Topeka was almost completely destroyed by an arsonist. In a lovely gesture over the weekend, a local Synagogue has provided the new lectern for the rebuilt parish.

The date of the official ceremony was Nov. 10th, chosen for an important reason

“But for Rabbi Debbie Stiel of Beth Sholom, the date has another resonance, too — that of Kristallnacht, the Nazi-organized pogrom against German Jews and their synagogues on that day in 1938.

[..]Rabbi Stiel noted that the fire at St. David’s occurred the night after its pastor, Rev. Don Davidson, took part in a panel discussion with Mikey Weinstein, who heads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. Rev. Davidson is also a U.S. Army chaplain, and he supports Weinstein’s group, which wages legal battles to keep overt proselytizing out of the military.

‘Right away, we weren’t sure what the cause of the fire was,’ Rabbi Stiel said. ‘Some people thought it might have been retaliation against Father Davidson for speaking out. They believe now that it was arson from somebody who might have been a vagrant, but it was never 100 percent established.”

Either way, the Rabbi decided that the best way to respond to the fire was to find some action that would demonstrate what the Jewish people of the Synagogue had in common with the Episcopalians of the parish:

“We thought ‘Is there something we could give to be a sign of friendship?’ The podium is from our old building, and they took a look and said they would like to have it as the main reading podium in their new sanctuary. They have had it refurbished. It has a handful of simple stars that decorate it, so it will be a reminder of that relationship.

Read the full details here and see pictures of the gift.

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