Church and synagogue share sacred traditions

Posted By on April 21, 2014

"Our big holidays coincide at this time, so what a great way for us to also be in unity and share life," the Rev. John Elford said.

Last Sunday in Kansas, a suspected white supremacist killed three people outside a Jewish community center and assisted living facility.

In response, the rabbi at the Austin Jewish Community Center approached University United Methodist and asked if they wanted to have service at the Jewish synagogue.

"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, Neil. Don't you know what the story is? This where we talk about how the Jews killed Jesus,'" Elford said.

The Jewish Community Center rabbi wanted the two religious communities to find common ground by sharing their roots.

"He said, 'We want to open our doors to you and welcome you, and we want this to be real. We don't want this to be a little fake thing where a few of us get together and talk. We want it to be a real coming together of neighbors,'" Elford said.

Instead of trading venues, the leaders swapped lights. The church got a menorah, and the synagogue took worship candles, symbols of worship with a message that transcends differences.

"We want to stand with our Jewish friends and say we respect each other's traditions. We can worship together. We can do missions together in the city and it's possible," Elford said. "Loving your neighbor is possible."

Passover is celebrated until Tuesday night. The Christian Holy Week ended on Easter Sunday.

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Church and synagogue share sacred traditions

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