Jews & Christians unite in Alabama in wake of synagogue shooting

Jews & Christians unite in Alabama in wake of synagogue shooting

Sunday evening, October 28, over 1,300 members of the Jewish and Christian communities gathered at Rock Family Worship Center in Huntsville, Alabama to celebrate Israel.

The message of the evening was clear and unequivocal: Christians are standing as never before with our Jewish brothers and sisters to condemn the vile evil of anti-Semitism and to declare our support and love for Israel and the Jewish people.

Throughout the gathering waves of blue and white filled the auditorium as flags of Israel were proudly waved by those present in response to the poignant and beautiful message of the night.

Host Pastor Rusty Nelson began the evening by saying “tonight represents a wrapping of our arms together saying, that we love you (Jewish People), we stand in solidarity with you, and we will never allow on our watch a silence or a time when we will not stand together (with you)”. Then he led those gathered in a moment of silence for the victims, their families and all those affected by the deadly shooting at Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh just the day before.

Pastor Rusty then sang the “Shema,” the traditional Hebrew prayer out of Deuteronomy 6, followed by Bishop Stearns leading those gathered in the traditional Hebrew song “Hinei Ma Tov” from Psalm 133: “Behold how good and pleasant it is when brethren dwell together in unity.”

Pastor IV Marsh, lead Pastor of Epic Church, shared of the life-changing impact of his trip to Israel with Eagles’ Wings. Pastor IV went to Israel with Bishop Stearns in 2016 and since then has organized four trips to Israel from his own congregation. In describing what he experienced he said, “It is something when you go (to Israel) – the Bible literally stops being words on a page, and becomes this high definition movie that you find yourself in…where the ground speaks in conjunction with the words on the page…”

Bishop Stearns then shared passionately about the unique moment we are living in, “We WILL stand as watchmen on the wall on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people, that wherever Israel stands and wherever the Jewish people stand, they will never stand alone again!”

A significant number from the Jewish community in Alabama were present for the event, some driving from as far away as Mobile. Rabbi Eric Berk of Temple B’nai Sholom addressed the gathering on their behalf.

Visibly moved by the outpouring of support he said, “It’s not often that you will see a Rabbi short of words, but (tonight) I’m a little speechless…this (Celebrate Israel) event could not have come at a better time (in the light of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shootings).

A highlight of the evening was a surprise presentation by John Buhler, Co-Chair of the Alabama-Israel Task Force, who presented both Bishop Stearns and Pastor Rusty Nelson with an engraved plaque commemorating Alabama’s historic declaration in 1943 of its support for the State of Israel, before the state was even birthed. Moved with emotion, John shared of the significant impact Bishop Stearns has had in the unfolding relationship of the Jewish and Christian community in Alabama through initiatives like the Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem.

In concluding the evening the room thundered with shouts and applause as Bishop Stearns and Pastor Rusty presented the Jewish community with a check for $21,000 that was raised that evening to help feed the poor in Israel.

Upcoming Celebrate Israel Events

Buffalo Celebrates Israel!
Sunday, November 18, 2018 – 6pm
Resurrection Life Church

2145 Old Union Rd
Cheektowaga, NY 14227
Pastor John Tonelli

Connecticut Celebrates Israel
Sunday, December 9, 2018 – 6pm
Harvest Time Church
Pastor Glenn Harvison


Tampa Celebrates Israel
Sunday, January 20, 2019 – 6pm
Pastor Ed Freeman
Location TBD


Los Angeles Celebrates Israel
Sunday, February 10, 2019 – 2pm
Iglesia Cristiana Koinonia
Pastor Armando Osorio


New Jersey Celebrates Israel

Sunday, March 17, 2019 – 6pm
Abundant Life Worship Center
Pastor Joe Arminio

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