It has come to our attention that material considered a hate crime in Canada is reaching some of our congregations this week. We are saddened to note that this is coming during a time when we are preparing to celebrate the arrival of the Christ in our midst.
The hate mail received this week has included a letter with disturbing messages and a USB key. It has come from the United States and may have a Customs declaration that it is a “gift.” If you receive mail that you suspect to be this or other hate correspondence, here is what we recommend you do:
- Do not insert the USB key into any of your devices. Curiosity could put your computer and your security at risk.
- Be aware that the letters that we are aware of contained disturbing messages targeting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. You may choose not to open it.
- Report it
- to your local police, and
- also use the Canada Border Services Agency online form to report it if it has come from outside of Canada: https://bwl-lsf.cbsa-asfc.cloud-nuage.canada.ca/tip-sub-en.html
If the mail meets the description provided above, you can report it as suspicious without opening it and include this newsletter to back up your concerns.
For security reasons, never put any USB key from an unknown or hostile source in your computer, as it could contain viruses or other malicious software that could steal your personal information, could cause harm to your computer and could also spread malware to your contacts. If you received a USB key, please report it to the police and surrender it to them. If you have already put such a USB key into your computer, please remove it immediately and take steps to check for malware before using your computer further.
Also, please be mindful of how distressing opening this mail may have been for the staff member or volunteer who did so. It will distress many and be experienced as a personal attack by any who identify with or are family and friends of the targeted population.
If you receive the above noted package or any other hate mail, please reach out to your Regional Council Social Justice staff- Thérèse Samuel email@example.com and John Egger firstname.lastname@example.org, even if only to notify us. Knowing what is happening helps us know how to best support you and the other congregations in our regional councils. And if you would also like any particular information or assistance, please let us know.
Sadly, this kind of hate correspondence profiles why our regional councils have chosen to become Affirming, and it is a reminder of why our Christian presence is so very vital in our communities, our nation and the world. If your congregation is not Affirming and you are interested in exploring the process, here is a link to information: https://affirmunited.ause.ca/affirming-ministry-requirements/, and contact Thérèse email@example.com or John E firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to your regional council staff who are here to support you.
The Regional Council offices will be closed during the Christmas break. Emails will be answered after our return in the New Year. If you have opened the USB, we recommend contacting your computer care/service provider immediately to seek their advice.
May God bless you and your congregations as you celebrate the arrival of the Christ child, who comes to overturn injustice and to bring true and lasting peace. May the miracle of Christ’s presence fill you with comfort and warmth as you face all the joys and challenges that this season may bring your way.
Yours in Christ,
Minister, Right Relations and Social Justice