Over 200 Christian leaders, including pastors from many Christian denominations, gathered at a luncheon on January 30th to discuss issues within their organizations and communities, and to raise awareness of the upcoming Third Annual Holocaust March of Remembrance Houston, which will be held at multiple locations across the Houston area on April 26-27, 2014.
The luncheon, sponsored by the Houston Area Pastor Council and hosted by Houston’s First Baptist Church, were honored to have Holocaust survivors Ruth and Larry Steinfeld and Al and Sarah Marks in attendance, along with Rabbi Dan Gordon, from Temple Beth Torah, as well as National Rabbinic Advisor to the March of Remembrance, and a former Muslim Brotherhood member.
Mr. Saleem, the keynote speaker, shared his remarkable story of turning from hatred of Jews and Christians, to serving the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In a bold moment, he publicly asked forgiveness and declared his commitment to stand against oppression and prejudice. He encouraged those in attendance to join in this cause by participating in the upcoming March.
The March of Remembrance is a nationwide event, held in over 50 US cities, where Christians gather in remembrance of the atrocities of the Holocaust and stand in solidarity with the Jewish community, declaring never again will the church be silent as such atrocities are committed. The March is held on Yom HaShoah (Day of the Catastrophe), also known as Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is a national holiday in Israel, established by the Knesset in 1951.
The March of Remembrance provides an opportunity to honor the Holocaust survivors and let their voices be heard and their story told; educate a generation that is many times unaware of the reality of the horrors of the Holocaust; remember not only those who were lost in the Holocaust, but those who fought for freedom: the rescuers who risked their lives and hid Jews underground; the soldiers who fought and sacrificed in World War II; and the leaders who spoke out. And, the march helps all engage…it is a time of active learning. There also is an opportunity for a reconciliation between communities that have been kept apart by a wall of silence regarding the Holocaust. When the silence is broken, walls of mistrust can be broken down, and doors to possible forgiveness and healing are opened.
The March of Remembrance first came to the Houston area in 2012 and is one of the larger Marches in the United States, being held at several locations in, and surrounding, Houston. This year, marches will be held on Saturday, April 26, in Kingwood, Webster, Chapel Hill , Baytown and possibly two other locations, culminating with the headline event in Meyerland on Sunday, April 27.
This year, Holocaust Museum Houston and the Jewish community have invited the March of Remembrance to bring the march to Holocaust Museum Houston’s Citywide Yom HaShoah Memorial Service. The prayer march will begin at Godwin Park with an opening service with Pastors, Rabbis, and Nazi Descendants flying in from Germany to repent, and will proceed to Congregation Beth Yeshurun, where the Jewish memorial services will be held. Shuttles will run from 3:00PM to 6:00PM to take participants back to Godwin Park.
There is great excitement surrounding this year’s memorial, as Christians have the opportunity to express their commitment to stand with the Jewish community, not in words, but in a more powerful demonstration of their presence, and of putting feet to their faith.
Don’t miss it! Mark your calendars to participate in this historic and meaningful event that will impact generations to come. Find the March nearest you and register now!
In keeping with the desire to demonstrate the solidarity of the community, the March coordinators are asking leadership of area churches, synagogues and groups to send at least a delegation of ten congregants with a designated leader to the March in Meyerland along with a sign for the group to carry, stating the name of the organization they represent. Nothing fancy, just a visual display of the breadth of support that is extended in the name of justice and human dignity. Please consider sending youth as well.