Abington leaders with a “message of peace”

A number of Abington’s clergy and civic leaders have come together to produce a video that touches upon the town’s abolitionist past, while pledging to be a place of inclusion, love, and justice.

“At this difficult time, all of us here in Abington, as well as those who have gone before us, and those who will come after us, stand together to affirm that we believe in liberty and justice for all,” said Abington Selectman Tim Chapin. “And today we renew our commitment to make love and justice real in our towns and our community, our nation, and our world.

The video, titled “A Message of Peace to The Town of Abington,” was created by United Church of Christ in Abington’s the Rev. Kristy Coburn, and Chris Schultz, the town’s board of health chairman. It is intended as a townwide message of solidarity in light of the death of George Floyd, who was killed when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes, and the wave of protests across the country in the days since. 

“I texted Kristy last week about how I was torn between honoring Abington’s history with some kind of gathering/demonstration/vigil and not encouraging large gatherings,” Schultz said in an interview with the Abington News. “She had the idea for  a virtual vigil.”

The video includes the Rev. Coburn, Schultz, Chapin, First Baptist Church of Abington Pastor Stephen Sanden, and Rep. Alyson Sullivan speaking from the stone memorial at Island Grove, which memorializes the spot’s history as a gathering place for abolitionist meetings.

The Rev. Coburn said she consulted with a number of town leaders in preparing and revising the script.

“My thought process was to represent the various groups in town with gentle promises to keep focused on creating an atmosphere in our town of openness, understanding, respect, and inclusivity,” she said.

It was recorded this past Sunday and edited by Abington Community Access & Media.

“Today we stand with peaceful protestors across the nation, just like those gathered here so long ago, simply wish to give a voice to the voiceless, and advocate for love, justice and mercy,” Schultz says in the video. 

“Abington, although our hearts are heavy today, they may be lifted high in hope that through our dedication to eliminating racial disparities and being bearers of kindness and compassion, that we will usher in an era of peace,” the Rev. Coburn says.

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