Episcopal News Service
[Anglican Journal] Indigenous Anglicans took another step on the road toward self-determination July 10 when General Synod received two documents presenting the goals, objectives and features of a fully Indigenous province within the Anglican Church of Canada.
In a PowerPoint presentation titled, Unique Features of an Indigenous Province: The Confederacy of the Indigenous Spiritual Ministry, Indigenous ministries co-ordinator Canon Virginia “Ginny” Doctor outlined 13 qualities a self-determining Indigenous should have.
While some of the features were fairly aspirational long-term goals, such as “better relationships between Indigenous communities and with settler communities,” and “high value on elders and youth,” others were more immediate.
Archdeacon Sid Black, former co-chair for the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), spoke at length about the first two features (“appropriate resources for leadership formation, including respect for Indigenous communities call to spiritual leadership,” and “Indigenous ordination canons and appropriate training for ministry”), using personal experience to illustrate the inadequacies of the traditional seminary process for those hoping to minister in a reserve context.
“I felt that I was…prepared for a ministry to a middle-class, non-Indigenous context,” he said, noting that different skills are needed to minister to an Indigenous community.
The presentation also called for greater authority for the National Indigenous Bishop, who can currently only minister to an Indigenous community if he has permission from its diocesan bishop.
“We want our bishop to be able to go to every Indigenous community where he is invited to go, either by the church or by the council members,” said Doctor. “We feel it is very important, and it honours the people who live there.”
A self-determining Indigenous Spiritual Ministry would also need “meaningful” prayer books and hymnals in the languages Indigenous Anglicans worship in, with music that is appropriate, Doctor said.
She noted that many of the songs in Common Praise are difficult to sing, and the language of the prayer book is not always accessible to people for whom English is not a first language.
In a press conference on Sunday evening, Doctor explained why the language of “confederacy” was being used to describe the proposed self-determining Indigenous ministry rather than the more traditional diocese.
“That comes from my background as a Six Nations woman, where we had the confederacy of nations as opposed to the province of nations,” she explained. “We’re really looking at ways to indigenize our language to make it more appropriate and meaningful to the people we want to reach out to.”
Synod also received the Mission Statement, Goals and Objectives for an Indigenous Anglican Spiritual Ministry within the Anglican Church of Canada, which interprets the Five Marks of Mission for an Indigenous context.
MacDonald stressed that the document, which received input from the March meeting of Council of General Synod (CoGS) and ACIP, is still a draft, and that synod members’ comments will be taken into consideration in future drafts.
“This is how we do things: we have documents that are kind of open-ended, and then they get revised as we move along,” he said.
MacDonald also noted that the mission statement and the features for a confederacy of Indigenous Spiritual Ministry signaled a change in direction. Earlier conversations about the establishment of an Indigenous province had focussed more on technical questions of how a fifth province that included urban and rural Indigenous communities across the country might be established.
“Instead of talking about governance and structures, what is being spoken about is ministry. The focus is ministry,” he said.
In response to the Indigenous ministries presentation, newly-elected Prolocutor Cynthia Haines-Turner brought a motion to the floor asking General Synod to affirm a statement calling on synod to “receive with joy” the mission statement for an Indigenous Anglican Spiritual Ministry, as well as the appointment of the Primate’s Council of Elders and Youth and the report of the Primate’s Commission on the Doctrine of Discovery, Reconciliation and Justice that had taken place earlier in the day.
[Anglican Journal] The shape the Indigenous Anglican church may vary in different parts of Canada, members of General Synod heard Sunday, July 10.
“The way that the Inuit are in the North is very different than the way that the Blackfoot people are, and soon on and so forth,” National Indigenous Anglican Bishop Mark MacDonald said. “It probably will take on a whole bunch of different forms as we go from nation to nation. So we can’t make something that will be one-size-fits all.”
MacDonald was responding to a question from Bishop Jane Alexander, of the Diocese of Edmonton. Like her fellow members of General Synod, Alexander had been asked to ponder “Where We Are Today: Twenty Years after the Covenant, an Indigenous Call to the Wider Church,” a statement released in 2014 by the Indigenous House of Bishops’ Leadership Circle. The statement, requested of the bishops by the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples (ACIP), outlines what the bishops see as the next steps in the process of the self-determination of an Indigenous Anglican church in Canada. On Sunday, the document was introduced to General Synod by ACIP member Archdeacon Sidney Black, of the Diocese of Calgary. Black asked members, in their table groups, to consider two questions: What do you find exciting about this document? What do you find challenging about this document?
Alexander said she needed clarification on the document. At certain points, she said, it read as though recommending an Indigenous church existing completely separately from the existing Anglican Church of Canada, and at other points it seemed to envisage the Indigenous church as remaining part of the existing organization.
“Am I looking at…two parallel structures or institutions — and I hate to use those words; that’s not exactly what I mean — or is it a kind of nesting of Anglican Indigenous ministries inside the Anglican Church of Canada?” Alexander asked.
In response, apart from clarifying that the document envisaged an Indigenous church whose shape would vary across the country, MacDonald conceded there remain “grey areas” about the nature of the future church, and that remains to be worked out.
One possibility, he said, would be a relationship in many ways similar to that between the Canadian and Cuban Anglican churches.
Cuba, MacDonald said, “is in another nation, and so it has a certain amount of freedom to do things the way it wants to do, but it hopes to have a relationship of brotherly and sisterly love back and forth [with us] as close as can be. I think we want something that is not exactly like that, but that would be appreciated like that…But we’re going to work it out a piece at a time.”
There’s a wide range of opinions among Canadian Indigenous Anglicans about the nature of the relationship the two churches should have, he added.
“Some people are very much, ‘We should be as separate as possible,’ and other people are ‘as close as possible.’ We’re still working that out amongst ourselves.”
In an emotional address to General Synod, Archdeacon and ACIP member Larry Beardy voiced an urgency that Indigenous Anglicans determine the shape of their own church.
“I just want to stress we’re talking self-determination today, and hopefully partner[ship] will evolve from there…The declaration really pushes us to the limit that we have to do something now…We’re not talking about programs. We’re talking about self-determination in the Anglican Church of Canada for our people. It’s time.”
The suffering of Indigenous communities, and their need for more self-determination, was brought home in his own community this year, he said, when an 11-year-old boy committed suicide.
“We can’t stand back any more, my friends, my brothers in Christ,” he said. “Our people have a vision.”
[Anglican Journal] A July 11 media panel featuring a diverse group of experts urged Anglicans not to assume the question of whether or not the church will choose to allow the solemnization of same-sex marriages is already decided.
Following a February communiqué from the House of Bishops saying the vote was not likely to pass with the required two-thirds majority in the Order of Bishops, many Anglicans have prepared themselves for the fallout of a “no” vote.
But Bishop Linda Nicholls, coadjutor of the Diocese of Huron and convener of the Commission on the Marriage Canon, cautioned Anglicans against prejudging the decision.
“I would never want our church to come with a kind of cynicism that says that the decision is already made, so why bother,” she said. “I’ve seen surprises at every General Synod I’ve been at, so I’m just waiting to see what’s going to happen this time.”
The panel was held following the first of three General Synod plenary sessions dedicated to the proposed change to the marriage canon (church law) allowing same-sex marriage. It included Chris Ambidge, who works with Integrity, the Canadian church’s LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning) caucus; Stephen Martin, a theology professor at the King’s University in Edmonton; and Dean Iain Luke, of the Diocese of Athabasca.
While panelists represented a variety of theological perspectives, they arrived at surprisingly similar conclusions about the importance of the synod process, and its limitations.
“We come [to synod] to encounter one another, to be accountable to one another, and — particularly on controversial matters — to be in the same room when the conversation is happening,” Luke said, noting that even if everyone already knew how the vote would go, it would still be important to show up.
“Our relationship with one another and our communion with one another is expressed in our presence, even if it is not expressed in agreement.”
But he added that given the deep divisions that exist within the Canadian Anglican church on matters of doctrine, the church should look at new ways of framing its decision-making process that do not inevitably lead to a binary of winners and losers.
It was a position Ambidge agreed with.
“I don’t think the Westminster parliamentary system is serving us well for things other than budgets,” he said. “For things that hit us not in the head or the heart but the soul, I think we need to learn a whole lot from the Indigenous people, because Westminster is really not helping us at all.”
Nicholls voiced similar concerns when asked whether there was anything she would change about the work of the Commission on the Marriage Canon.
She explained that the commission had been given a fairly strict mandate by General Synod 2013, and therefore had legal limitations on what it could and could not do, and how quickly it had to be done.
For example, the commission was required to, among other things, perform a broad consultation with the Anglican church and its ecumenical partners, craft a rationale for changing the marriage canon and draft a resolution to send to General Synod 2016.
She said these constraints hobbled the commission’s ability to do a thorough consultation, especially with Indigenous Anglicans.
“Indigenous communities work at a very different pace,” she explained. “What we had to do was approach it through asking the Indigenous bishops. But we heard some criticism that we did not consult with elders — but my goodness, I mean, that would have been a very long process to do that and to do that well.”
Luke also felt that the way the legislation was written hindered the commission from doing its work properly, in particular around the question of even-handedness.
“I think if we had given a similar amount of time and resources to the theological rationale for not changing the marriage canon, we could be having a much more genuine and mutual conversation here and now,” he said.
[Anglican Journal] When Bishop Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, addressed General Synod on July 9, he thanked the Anglican Church of Canada for its many contributions to the communion. He did not indicate how Monday, July 11’s vote on whether to allow the solemnization of same-sex marriages would affect Canada’s place in the global Anglican body.
But Idowu-Fearon did note its repercussions for some provinces of the communion.
Although he praised the “typically Canadian and commendably transparent process” that led General Synod to the marriage canon vote, he said that the conclusions this process led to — that same-sex marriage was theologically possible — “would be difficult to receive” for other parts of the communion.
In his comments on the vote itself, he expressed concern over how either a “yes” or a “no” would be understood by the wider church.
“However you are led by the spirit in your reflection at this synod on the marriage of gays and lesbians in Canada,” he said, “I pray that your decision may be received in such a way by the provinces of the communion that it will help, and not hinder, our equally vital agenda to change attitudes that would make people safe.”
Idowu-Fearon, who served as bishop of Kaduna in the Church of Nigeria before becoming secretary general in 2015, said it would be “impossible” to think about the 77-million member Anglican Communion without noting the “historic and ongoing” role Canada has played in it.
Ever since the first Lambeth Conference in 1867, “Canadian Anglicans have borne faithful witness to Christ in their service to the Anglican Communion,” he said.
Idowu-Fearon also spoke highly of the number of Canadian Anglicans taking on roles in the Anglican Communion Office, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) and in ecumenical dialogues, and thanked the Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) for its support of the Anglican Alliance. He also praised the Canadian primate, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, saying his “moderating presence” at the January 2016 gathering of primates helped them get through “days of uncertainty.”
When he touched on the question of same-sex marriage, Idowu-Fearon was circumspect, stressing that Western churches are not the only ones in the communion struggling with questions about sexuality.
Speaking of his home province of Nigeria, a nation in which homosexuality is illegal, Idowu-Fearon noted that “the struggle for the legal, social, spiritual and physical safety of gay and lesbian members is an issue” that the Nigerian church has to face, given the Anglican Communion’s unambiguous denunciation of homophobia at the 1998 Lambeth Conference and at multiple Primates’ Meetings since then.
He argued, however, that it is for the Nigerian church to take the lead in confronting this issue.
“This is about changing attitudes,” he said. “We need the space and time to do this work on our own.”
In the year since the U.S.-based Episcopal Church voted to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples, there has been significant backlash in some parts of the communion over what some have seen as a unilateral decision on an important point of doctrine.
This culminated in a statement by the primates in January this year, calling for “consequences” against the Episcopal Church that would limit its participation in communion bodies and decision-making. However, when the communion’s main legislative body, the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC), met in Lusaka, Zambia, in April, no sanctions were taken against the the Episcopal Church.
This has left some Canadian Anglicans uncertain about what treatment they can expect if their church goes down the same road.
But despite the present anxieties, Idowu-Fearon ended on a positive note, reflecting on the positive contribution Canada made at the ACC meeting and declaring that in his recent travels across the communion, he has come to believe that the global Anglican church still has much that brings it together.
“This is an exciting time to be an Anglican,” he said. “It is an exciting time to be a part of the Anglican Communion.”
[Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis] The Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis has announced a slate of four nominees to stand for 11th bishop of the diocese.
- The Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, director of networking, Episcopal Diocese of Chicago;
- The Rev. Dr. Grace Burton-Edwards, rector, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Columbus, Georgia;
- The Rev. Canon Patrick Lance Ousley, priest in charge and headmaster, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Parish & Preschool, Kirkland, Washington; canon for stewardship & development, Diocese of Olympia; and
- The Rev. Dina van Klaveren, rector, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Glenwood. Maryland.
Further information about the bishop search and the nominees is available here.
The Standing Committee will receive candidates by petition until July 24. The petition process is outlined here.
The candidates, as well as any additional names received through the nomination by petition process, will be presented to the diocese Oct. 13-15.
The election is scheduled to take place Oct. 28 during the 179th Diocesan Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The bishop-elect will succeed the Rt. Rev. Catherine Waynick, who is retiring after serving the diocese as its bishop since 1997.
The ordination and consecration is set for Saturday, Apr. 29, 2017.
“All I know…is this must stop…this divisiveness…”
These are the words of Dallas Police Chief David Brown spoken from the heart immediately in the wake of the tragic ambush of police officers in Dallas this past Thursday evening as they protected the right of other citizens to peacefully protest the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile who were themselves killed only days earlier in altercations with police in Louisiana and Minnesota.
I could not agree more. This must stop.
Brown’s words remind me of those spoken by a Palestinian mother in the wake of violence after Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995. She said simply, “Enough. Enough blood. Enough tears.”
Though separated by a span of more than twenty years, by thousands of miles, by religion, language, culture, and race, these words give voice to a truth that haunts us all and demands our attention: this divisiveness in our culture and society and world—be it political, racial, economic, or religious in nature—must stop. Period. It is rooted only in fear. It leads only to violence. It is only, in the end, a dead-end for all of us.
So what do you think this string of tragedies in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Baton Rouge—let alone the longer string of violence stretching from Orlando to San Bernardino to Aurora to Newton and beyond—has to say to us as people of God? How might our fear, anger, outrage, grief, and distress be calling us by the grace of the Holy Spirit to act faithfully to work for reconciliation and peace in our own communities and in the world?
You have already received from my office information about the “49 Bells Project” initiated by The Reverend Susan Springer at Saint John’s Episcopal Church in Boulder. I encourage you all simply to begin there, to take on this practice of tolling the bells of churches across Colorado 49 times every Wednesday at 1:00 pm between now and November 2 as a form of prophetic witness to bring an end to gun violence. More information on the 49 Bells Project >
In monastic tradition, the tolling of the bell at different hours throughout the day is a call to mindfulness—to stop in the midst of activity, to set aside the distraction and preoccupation of daily work, to turn our attention and intention to God, and to be still in order to be mindful (or re-minded) of the divine love that is both the source and the purpose of our lives.
Similarly, the 49 Bells Project is intended to call us out or ourselves not only to remember the forty-nine victims of the Orlando shootings and all who suffer from gun violence in our communities, but to be re-minded of our ongoing obligation and responsibility as people of God to pray and to work without ceasing in our own lives to heal divisions, to end violence, and to honor the God-given dignity of every human being.
“All I know,” says Chief David Brown, “is this must stop…this divisiveness.”
He is so very right.
All I know, dear sisters and brothers, is that the work of being faithful reconcilers and true peace-makers in this broken and sinful world is our God-given calling. It is a high bar indeed. It is both our greatest challenge and the greatest gift we have to offer. It is, not surprisingly, more demanding than we would like, but there is simply no choice.
The work of integrating our faith with the complex, life and death, issues of our world—the practice of prayerfully holding our lives and those of others in the light of God, the discipline of allowing our own pain, loss, and grief to be transformed by divine grace, and then the work of acting compassionately for what is right and just—demands our highest and best self.
Nothing is more worthy. It really is time for all of us to step up our game.
So begin by embracing the 49 Bells Project and then keep going.
How will you begin to pray more deeply and intentionally for peace in your own heart, in the lives of those around you, in your community, in this country, and in this world now and in the days ahead? How is God calling you to change, to grow in your understanding and witness to the gospel of peace in your own life? What action is the Holy Spirit leading you to take to end gun violence, to heal the wounds of racism, and to be an instrument of God’s peace in this day and time? To whom will you speak? To whom can you write? What action will you take that will make a difference and bring peace to our world? How will you embody in your own life a more transcendent vision of human life for others to see?
As I wrote less than thirty days ago in response to the Orlando shootings, our faith as Christians is just not a private matter. Never has been and never will be. As inheritors of the gospel of peace, we have been given a life-giving song of life-giving Love that can and must be sung in a disturbingly tone-deaf and discordant world. We simply cannot shrink back or remain silent.
So, once again, stand tall, take heart, have courage, be the light that pushes back the darkness, and remember that at all times and in all places and in all ways, Love wins.
—Bishop Rob O’Neill
“My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city.” —Lamentations 2:11 NRSV
“Please, Lord, you know our rights, Lord. You know we are innocent people, Lord. We are innocent people.” — Lavish Reynolds, girlfriend of Philando Castile
The National Council of Churches mourns the recent shootings of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA, Philando Castile in suburban Minneapolis, MN, and five police officers in Dallas, TX. These killings point to the racial tensions that plague our society and the disturbing disregard for the sacredness of human life, exacerbated by the prevalence of weapons.
We pray for a full recovery of those wounded in Dallas and for the friends and families of those killed in each of these tragic incidents. Words seem inadequate to express the depth of our sorrow and the extent of our concern for the stability and well-being of our country. Our society is in need of a radical transformation, away from suspicion and anger to trust and reconciliation. We are committed to the pursuit of both racial justice and sensible measures to prevent gun violence, and to working to bring about reconciliation among our people.
We commend the following statements from NCC member communions:
“We are killing ourselves, and until we in the white community feel that the death of a person of color is our death too, it’s not going to change.”
The Bible reminds us that, “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them, because greater is the one who is in you than the one who is in the world” (I John 4:4). Our ability to overcome the world by the God-bestowed power within us requires faith and courage.
Other statements will be posted on the NCC website as they become available.
[Episcopal Diocese of Dallas] Thousands of people sought comfort in the Lord on Friday, July 8, at numerous prayer services offered throughout North Texas just one day after an ambush in downtown Dallas brought the city to its knees when a gunman shot 12 law enforcement officers, five of them fatally.
“Our city is broken, aching and torn,” said diocesan missioner for evangelism Carrie Headington, who attended one of the services. “Today was a clarion call to action. A call to pray. A call for racial reconciliation. A call for justice and peace. A call to see the dignity in all persons. A call for the church to live fully into our mission as ambassadors for Jesus. Today is a call to love.”
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings organized an outdoor ecumenical vigil in downtown Dallas that drew hundreds of people at noontime into the Texas heat. Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potter’s House nondenominational church told the crowd to hold hands and said, “We are gathered together at Thanks-Giving Square in Dallas to pray for our city and our nation.”
It was powerful to listen to civic and religious leaders speak about healing and building a more peaceful society, said the Rev. Casey Shobe, rector for Church of the Transfiguration in Dallas. He noted the importance of taking the prayer back out into the world and trying to transform society into a more peaceful world.”
Many people at the event showed their support and care for the city. One man carried a sign that read, “Free Hugs,” while workers from 7-Eleven passed out free bottled water to the hot crowd on a day when the temperature neared 100 degrees. Police officers were also on hand tying navy and yellow ribbons around tree trunks in solidarity for their fallen officers.
Headington, who is involved in justice and reconciliation work in the city of Dallas and with the Greater Dallas Coalition, said the prayer gatherings should serve as a springboard for reconciling action needed in the city. She is currently working with Dallas Bishop George Sumner to organize a powerful reconciliation event for the diocese in the fall.
“Today’s events show that we need to have grace and love for our neighbors,” said the Rev. Keith Turberville, rector of Holy Trinity by the Lake in Heath, Texas. “Christ wants us and needs us to have big hearts opening ourselves to a wider circle. So let us all be challenged together and learn from this and may we all build a bigger neighborhood.”
The Rev. Bill Cavanaugh, rector at Church of the Epiphany in Richardson, agreed. “I hope as we build bridges here we might build bridges in our parishes and we might truly begin to build that Kingdom that God desires us to experience not only as Episcopalians but as brothers and sisters throughout the world.”
Several churches throughout the diocese offered prayer services including Saint Michael and All Angels, Good Shepherd in Dallas and Church of the Incarnation where the Rev. Thomas Kinkaid III asked the nearly 200 mournful who filled the pews, “how do we know God is still here?”
Kinkaid, who is vice rector, pointed out that the protest was against police brutality, and began as a peaceful, respectful event. “Then the shooting started, and protesters grabbed their kids and ran for cover, police officers ran at the bullets. Doing exactly what we count on them to do each and every day, they ran toward their own danger, and for some, their own death.
“How do we know God is still here? Jesus said: ‘This is my commandment that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.’”
Sumner, who is traveling to Dallas from Costa Rica, said that there is no easy answer to the crisis that Americans face. He asked that for prayers for all those who are harmed in spite of all the fault lines in our society. “May the Holy Spirit guide us all in discerning the shape of our common witness. May we all be praying for the welfare of our city and all its inhabitants. May He protect all exposed to danger in their work.”
Immediately after the shooting rampage, the Rev. Oliver Lee, rector of Trinity, served in the hospitals talking to family members of a deceased officer as they absorbed the atrocity of the night and the fate of their loved-one. “As you can imagine the strain of these events have taken an unbearable toll on the families of the dead, and also on the officers, many who had been with their colleagues mere moments before, and on the community, which has borne the burden of this unimaginably tragic event,” Lee said.
The need for prayer has not ceased and more events are scheduled including a diocesan-wide Requiem Mass for the Fallen and Prayer for the City of Dallas at 4 p.m., July 10 at St. Matthew’s Cathedral with Sumner as celebrant and Lee as preacher. Sumner will also attend New Millennium Bible Fellowship Praise Center with its Bishop J.L. Slater, at 10:30 a.m., July 10.
Kincaid tried to put the horror of the shooting into perspective during his sermon when he said that God showed up in the brokenness. “Dallas Police Chief David Brown put it this way: ‘I’ve never been more proud of being a police officer …seeing the courage …and…grit to stay on the scene, looking for suspects, knowing that we are vulnerable.’
“How do we know God is still here? Because when bullets start raining down from above, some people ran at those bullets laying down their lives for friends they didn’t know they had.”
Prayer suggestions from the Rev. Oliver Lee
We request your prayers for the officers who were killed in the line of duty that their souls may rest in peace and that light perpetual would shine upon them.
We request your prayers for those who were injured, that they may be healed and restored to the fullness of body, mind, and spirit.
We request your prayers for the officers’ families, friends, loved ones, and co-workers, that they be comforted and strengthened, confident in God’s mercy and loving care.
We request your prayers for the City of Dallas and this great nation. That from Bangor, Maine to Eureka California we may unite as a nationwide community of love, compassion and respect, and that individually and collectively, we will honor our pledge, united as “one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
— Kimberly Durnan is director of communications for the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas.
[Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts] The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts, has issued a statement to clergy and parishes regarding the events of the last 72 hours in America. The deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the officers gunned down in Dallas have prompted people of faith to reflect, to engage in painful conversations about race and gun violence, to examine our collective responsibility to end the bloodshed. The full text of Fisher’s statement follows below.
In Christ all things hold together.
During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw terrible violence and lost his life for speaking the truth to our nation. I find myself wondering what he would say to us today. His way of nonviolence – Jesus’ way – meant that we had to watch Selma and Birmingham on the evening news as police and guardsmen beat and bloodied young protestors. Fifty years later, people we look to for protection – motivated by fear – become judge, jury and executioner in viral video. The more this happens, the less their lives seem to matter. We stand against racism.
Violence will never end violence. Hate only feeds hate. The news from Baton Rouge and St. Paul – captured by cell phones – must force us to speak to one another about race in America. We must admit the ugly truth that Black lives are in danger. We must look long and hard at the way we hire and train our Law Enforcement Officers. Something is broken and we must have the courage to fix it.
Dallas – the city that still bears the weight of another killing more than fifty years ago – today, her streets are marked with the blood of heroes. When hatred fuels the heart of a man with an assault-style weapon, innocent people are gunned down in the streets – people who put their lives at risk for us every day. We stand with those who keep the peace. Those sworn to protect our lives and property are grieving. We must carry the families of the dead in our hearts. We weep with those who weep.
Make no mistake that hatred plus an automatic weapon equals death. Gun violence in America is now, God help us, part of the fabric of our lives. We cannot let fear take hold – though fear is the right feeling. Whether we “sit in” or stand up or speak truth until we have no words left, we must DO something to end the carnage. We cry out for an end to the violence – for Baton Rouge, for St. Paul, and for Dallas. In Christ all things hold together. In his name I pray.
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher
IX Bishop of Western Massachusetts
On Sunday, in every church of our diocese, we will read the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus tells the story of kindness on the Jericho road to answer the question posed by an inquiring lawyer, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus’ story causes us to reflect deeply on our relationship to the vulnerable and the stranger. He beckons his followers to be kind and generous, even vulnerable, when faced with the need of others.
I cannot imagine a person more vulnerable than someone who is homeless and asleep. We now grapple with the horrible news that four homeless persons have been attacked, two killed as they slept in the city of San Diego. The homeless of our communities are not faceless. They are not nuisances. They are people. They are someone’s son or daughter. They are created and loved by God. They are created in the image of God, like you and me.
It is hard to understand why someone would do something so horrific to another person. We are grateful that the man responsible for these brutal acts has been apprehended and stopped. However, we all do well to recognize our culture’s discomfort with the poor, vulnerable, the substance abuser, the mentally ill or the one who is very different from us. We wish them to disappear and to be somewhere else.
And yet, even as we are struggling to get our heads around these neighbors of ours being senselessly attacked and killed, we hear this morning of another senseless slaughter in Dallas as five police officers were killed and seven others wounded by a sniper. Juxtaposed with killing of the most vulnerable, we are now faced with the killing of those sworn to protect the community. Again, these officers are human beings. They too are someone’s son or daughter. Families have been destroyed.
While we cannot ever fully understand why someone would commit any of these violent acts, we are aware that we live in a fearful age, where the forces of evil seek to divide neighbors. As followers of Jesus, we are to be characterized not by self-interest, but by an abiding concern and empathy for our neighbor, whether homeless or wearing a badge. We are to work for a just society where the homeless find safety and our police officers will be safe as they shepherd our communities.
As night comes upon us, let us pray for those without shelter, that they may have a gentle and safe night. Let us also pray for those who patrol our streets to protect us all. And at dawn, let us take our prayers into action and as Jesus commands the lawyer in the parable of the Good Samaritan, “go and do likewise.”
The Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes
As I reeled from the shooting in Baton Rouge, then the shooting in St. Paul and now the shooting in Dallas, I knew I could not say nothing. Grief not expressed easily becomes indifference. Indifference is not what we need right now. What we need is prayer and action.
What to do?
- Face the enemy within.
The evil temptation is to make these tragedies about “other people” who are not connected to me. Many of us, however, treat people who are dissimilar to us differently. Just this week I heard stories from three different people: one a Native American and the others were African American. Each told stories about being treated differently just because of the color of their skin. One dad, whose young son had been publicly slighted because of his race, had the tragic responsibility to inform his son that this could be what the rest of his life would be like – just because he was a person of color. Why must this be? And, just in case you were wondering, these were not poor people who lived in the “wrong neighborhood.” They were people of both education and means.
Beg God to help us see other people as He sees them. Pray that we learn to love as God loves us.
- Pray for those more intentionally connected to these tragedies.
As one friend of mine posted on line:
Praying for the grieving families and loved ones in #Dallas, #BatonRouge, and #FalconHeights.
Praying for those in critical condition.
Praying for black lives to matter.
Praying for police to be safe and wise.
Praying for all of us to repent, reconcile, and heal.
Praying in Jesus’ name.
- Purposefully reach out.
Ask yourself and your congregation the question: How do I intentionally contribute to racial unity? Bishop Rob Innes, Anglican Bishop of Europe, said, “Britain seems anxious to build fences. My job as a bishop is to build bridges.” The same is true for us. Our job as Christians, living in a world marked by increasing hostility and fear, is to intentionally build bridges. Are you inviting people whose skin color is different from yours into your life? At home at your dining room table? Over coffee? In a Bible study?
What about your church? Do the members of your congregation racially look like your neighborhood? What about caring for your community? Can congregations who are racially different link arms in a public show of solidarity? The Biblical vision of the church is of a people made up of “every tribe, tongue, people, language and nation” (Rev. 5:9). Is your congregation color blind in its hiring of staff? My sense as your bishop is that most congregations are not. We may use euphemisms about finding someone who “fits our culture” but the bottom line is often about racial preferences. Why continue to prop up such sinful practices? Can our churches be places where people of different races are not treated differently? Can we raise a generation of young people who see all people, regardless of race, through the eyes of Christ?
It grieves my heart that in 2016 we still live both in a church and in a society where these sorts of recommendations need to be affirmed. One would hope we would have gotten past much of this by now and that the Christian church would be more of a visible expression of unity than our hostile and divided culture. But it does not have to be this way.
Now is not a time to merely wring our hands and wish this were not happening.
Now is the time to pray.
Now is the time to act.
+Gregory O. Brewer
Dear people of EDUSC,
It is with the deepest sadness that we ask again for prayers for victims of recently multiplying gun violence. Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and four Dallas police officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer have been killed in an atmosphere of fear and hatred. It is absolutely critical that we not respond to hatred and fear with violence, but with love. Prayer plays a major role in spreading the love of God throughout the human community. Love is also action. Love is not remaining silent when injustice invades our culture and steals the lives of family members and loved ones. Love is taking a stand against violence as the status quo. Please pray with all your hearts for a new spirit of resistance against gun violence. We must do everything we can to prevent our brothers and sisters from dying needlessly.
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
~The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Your brother in Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Charles F. Duvall, Assisting Bishop
The Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself…and who is my neighbor?” (from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Luke)
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8)
I write to you today, peering at my computer screen through tear-filled eyes. My heart hurts; I am angry, I am fearful; my very soul cries out: ENOUGH!!! God’s children are being killed! They are black, they are sworn officers of the law, they are parents and siblings and beloved family members; they are all beloved of God! ENOUGH!
We are a nation that has come to embrace its freedoms so tightly that we are now choking the life out of each other’s freedoms. We are a nation that values the right to free speech to such a degree that the bellicose rhetoric of today incites the less thoughtful to act and react with violence because of the words of hate and intolerance someone utters. We have become a nation that has lost patience with those who differ from us to so great an extent that elimination of difference is preferable to loving our neighbor. ENOUGH!
In this Sunday’s Gospel, we are once again given a lesson in recognizing and appreciating our neighbor: “the one who showed mercy.” Mercy, a word that is often also translated as ‘kindness’. Kindness and mercy are attributes of God; they are desirable qualities for humankind, albeit inconsistently found. As President Obama stated, “people of good will can do better.” I suggest: we must do better if we wish to claim the good that God requires of us.
ENOUGH! How much longer before we can all live in a nation where we will not be “judged by the color of [our] skin but by the content of [our] character.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) ENOUGH!
Let us pray.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us
through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole
human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which
infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us;
unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and
confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in
your good time, all nations and races may serve you in
harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer, page 815)
The Rt. Rev. Wendell N. Gibbs Jr.
10th Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Michigan
[Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs press release] Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry has issued the following video asking every Episcopalian to share in deep prayer following the shootings in the United States. The video is available here.
Many Episcopal groups have prepared resources that may help congregations and individuals in their prayer and conversation this weekend.
- A liturgy resource for praying after Ferguson, created in the Diocese of Missouri and shared by the Beloved Community: Commission for Dismantling Racism in the Diocese of Atlanta
- A summary of Episcopal resources for racial reconciliation
- Episcopal News Service feed with statements and resources from across the church
- If you have created resources to help your community to pray and to work for healing and justice, please share them with the Presiding Bishop’s staff here: email@example.com.
The following statement was released on The Rt. Rev. Marc Andrus’ blog this morning (July 8):
Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; … You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
During a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas last night, snipers killed five police officers and wounded seven more. Last night was the most police causalities the United States has seen since September 11, 2001. I have just learned of police being shot outside St. Louis and in Georgia, as well. I weep for the additional loss of life as a result of gun violence. While some voices were saying that those advocating for police demilitarization and accountability wanted the murders of police officers, leaders within the Black Lives Matter movement were calling the shootings horrific, and insisting that Black Lives Matter does not stand for killing police officers. According to the Dallas Police Chief, one suspect in the shootings said that he was not with Black Lives Matter and was working alone.
That suspect made his statement before the police blew him up with an explosive-equipped robot. Although the police feared for their safety, this man had a right to due process. Protestors in Portland last night were met by police in riot gear — and a man who pulled a gun was arrested, not shot, and not “detonated.”
Justice is not a zero-sum game; it is possible to curb abuses by police without calling for their executions. No one — let alone Black Lives Matters organizers — is calling for police execution. Catholic ethicist and theologian Tobias Winright — who served as a police officer before studying theology, and who has taught ethics at police academies — says, “[P]olicing doesn’t have to be what it has evolved into. It will still be dangerous at times and yes, it may still require the use of force. But that shouldn’t be what policing is all about. That is an instrument; it is not the essence of policing.” In this interview Winright recounts the evolution of policing in the United States and commends the book The rise of the warrior cop by Radley Balko.
I am asking the deacons of our diocese — those who have a special ministry under their bishop, and who are called to work on the margins — to begin organizing lobbying efforts at the city, county, state, and federal levels of government to impact both police use of force and overall gun violence. Our newsletters and social media presences will update those interested. We will also be sharing information about marches and vigils as we have it, and may be hosting one ourselves. Vigils and prayer must move us to act for legislating changes to behavior and policy. Campaign Zero’s Take Action page offers easy-to-use tools for contacting elected officials with specific policy requests — including in great detail on the Solutions page.
Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.” No one is calling for an eye for an eye. We grieve the loss of lives of the police officers in Dallas, and we grieve the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. It was their extrajudicial deaths that spurred this most recent round of demonstrations which will continue as long as people of color are more likely to be killed by police than white people and until there are changes in policy. Black lives matter. Blue lives matter, too — but not more.
We cannot ignore the problems of systemic racism that plague our society and are more clearly visible in police brutality as a result of ubiquitous video cameras and social media. We must not, as the prophet Jeremiah warns against, treat the wounds of our people carelessly and cry “peace, peace” when there is no peace. We must work for justice, even in our grief.
More gun shots, more killings, more tears, more anger, more, more, more…
How much longer will this go on??!!
When I have been asked this question my answer has been, and I hope that I am wrong, “it will get much worse before we, as a nation, look at ourselves and say, ‘This has to stop.'”
It is not just a matter of easy access to guns. Although I believe that having them so readily available increases the potential for acts of violence in which they are used, it is not just a matter of guns.
It is our readiness to resort to violence that truly disturbs me. It is our fear of those who we see as being different than ourselves that frightens me. It is the fracturing of our nation along political lines, racial lines, religious lines and then exploiting those divides to stoke fear and hatred that terrifies me.
It is the willingness of some of our elected leaders to use that fear to maintain their place in office and the use of that fear to get elected to office that disheartens me.
It is the complacency of all too many people who sit on the sidelines just hoping and praying that things will get better and never doing anything more that frustrates me.
How long, O Lord, how long??!!
It will take as long as it takes for this nation to admit that we are sick and broken and resolve to stop blaming one another for our ills and begin to work together for the betterment of all.
Jesus said: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 NRSV)
[Episcopal News Service] La visite que l’Évêque Président Michael Curry a rendue au Diocèse Ecuador Litoral la semaine dernière avait pour but de montrer que les populations durement touchées par le séisme du 16 avril et ses conséquences ne sont pas seules.
L’Évêque Président Curry a assuré à la congrégation rassemblée le 30 juin pour l’Eucharistie à la Catedral Cristo Rey (Cathédrale Christ-Roi) à Guayaquil, siège du diocèse, qu’il apportait avec lui les prières de toute l’Église épiscopale et sa promesse d’être à ses côtés pendant toute la période postérieure au tremblement de terre.
L’Évêque Président a également encouragé la congrégation à regarder autour d’elle. « Allez dans le monde et aidez-nous à le rendre meilleur » ajoute-t-il à l’issue de son sermon. « Allez dans le monde et montrez-leur que seul l’amour compte. Allez dans le monde et unissez vos efforts à ceux de tous jusqu’à ce que chacun d’entre nous puisse dire : « Nous ne sommes pas seuls, nous avons un Dieu et avec Dieu nous ne pouvons pas échouer ».
L’Évêque diocésain Alfredo Morante España, dit que, lors de sa visite du 27 juin au 1er juillet, l’Évêque Président Curry avait apporté avec lui un message d’espoir dans la région où un séisme de magnitude 7,8 a fait 650 morts et plus de 16 600 blessés, a déplacé plus de 30 000 personnes et causé des milliards de dollars de dommages.
« La présence de l’Évêque Président réaffirme le travail pastoral que nous réalisons ici » poursuit l’Évêque Morante lors d’une entrevue. « Et clairement cet accompagnement va au-delà des ressources matérielles ; c’est également un accompagnement spirituel que nous offrons à nos communautés. En tant qu’église, nous sommes restés unis : le clergé, les laïcs et les communautés. La présence de l’Évêque Président nous inspire à continuer et nous prions pour que d’autres églises internationales continuent à nous soutenir ».
L’Évêque Président Curry s’est rendu dans la province de Manabí les 28 et 29 juin pour passer du temps avec les personnes affectées par le séisme dans les villes et les villages de Manta, Portoviejo et La Pila. Le soir du 28 juin, l’Évêque Président Curry s’est retrouvé avec d’autres à l’Église épiscopale San José Obrero (Saint-Joseph-Ouvrier) de Manta pour célébrer l’Eucharistie en mémoire de ceux qui sont morts dans le tremblement de terre.
Il a passé la soirée du 29 juin et toute la journée du 30 juin à Guayaquil où il a rencontré des Épiscopaliens laïcs et ordonnés et discuté des défis auxquels est confrontée l’Église au 21ème siècle. Et il a prêché lors de l’Eucharistie à la cathédrale.
Dans un message vidéo au reste de l’Église épiscopale enregistré à l’extérieur de la cathédrale, l’Évêque Président Curry nous dit que les récits qu’il a entendus dans tout le diocèse « sont tout simplement remarquables ».
« Nous avons l’espoir et œuvrons de façon à ce que l’église puisse être une présence pastorale pour ceux qui vivent dans les camps de réfugiés et apporter de l’aide et de l’assistance à diverses communautés dont il faudra reconstruire les habitations » poursuit-il, en indiquant que quatre églises épiscopales de la région frappée par le séisme avaient été gravement endommagées et devaient être réparées ou reconstruites elles aussi.
« Il y a du travail à faire mais c’est un diocèse où, comme il est dit dans le Livre de Néhémie, les gens veulent se mettre au travail et c’est une joie d’être ici avec leur évêque, avec leur clergé et avec tous pour encourager ce travail » dit l’Évêque Président Curry.
L’Évêque Président, entouré d’un groupe de l’Église de la Sainte-Trinité dans la péninsule de Santa Elena sur la côte équatorienne, fait remarquer qu’un groupe de femmes à l’église aide d’autres femmes à renforcer leur communauté et à venir connaître Jésus, et qu’un groupe d’hommes travaille à un ministère de reconstruction. Ces activités ne sont, ajoute-t-il, qu’une petite partie de la mission de la congrégation.
« Ils vont dans les quartiers partager leur foi, à la rencontre des autres, c’est tout simplement une congrégation remarquable » dit-il. « Et si jamais je devais vous montrer un exemple de ce qu’est le Mouvement de Jésus, le voici ».
Se tournant vers les gens autour de lui, l’Évêque Président Curry poursuit « Je suis fier d’être votre frère dans la foi ».
L’Évêque Morante nous confie que lorsqu’ils se sont rendus dans les régions affectées par le tremblement de terre et qu’ils ont vu la destruction provoquée dans son sillage, l’Évêque Président Curry « a pu également voir et évaluer le travail réalisé par l’Église ici en Équateur ».
Ce travail, dit l’Évêque, implique maintenant de regarder vers l’avenir et de se concentrer sur trois aspects.
Le premier, c’est la reconstruction des habitations et l’Évêque Morante indique que le diocèse organise les familles et leur fournit les matériaux nécessaires pour reconstruire leur propre maison.
Un autre aspect du développement est un programme de création d’entreprises. « Les gens qui vivent dans les abris ne veulent pas seulement recevoir de la nourriture, ils veulent également poursuivre leur vie pour se sentir utile et pour travailler » nous dit-il. « Nous soutenons ces familles avec des micro-crédits pour les aider à créer de petites entreprises ».
Le troisième aspect sur lequel nous nous concentrons est l’accompagnement spirituel et pastoral qui, de l’avis de l’Évêque Morante, est essentiel depuis la tragédie.
« Nous œuvrons avec très peu de ressources mais c’est un début et nous offrons ce que nous avons » poursuit-il.
L’Évêque Morante a invité les populations du monde entier à soutenir les travaux du diocèse de sorte qu’il puisse continuer à aider les gens. « Nous n’avons que peu de fonds mais si quelqu’un veut également nous soutenir grâce à ses connaissances en tant qu’ingénieur, architecte ou autre professionnel, toute aide est la bienvenue » ajoute-t-il. « Nous demandons également des prières pour ces communautés pendant qu’elles continuent de reconstruire leur vie ».
Le Rév. Jairo Chiran Quiñonez, diacre et vicaire de l’Église épiscopale Santiago Apostol (Saint-Jacques Apôtre) de La Pila, petite communauté située à 40 minutes de route de Manta, dit à ENS que la visite de l’Évêque Président Curry « laisse une marque et trace la voie, et nous sommes très reconnaissants qu’il soit venu pour nous réconforter et qu’il soit disposé à nous soutenir. Il fait ce que Jésus prêchait : marcher au côté des communautés ».
Dans les zones rurales les plus durement touchées, les plus pauvres sont ceux qui souffrent le plus, nous dit le Rév. Chiran. « Les pauvres sont malheureusement habitués à tout perdre mais il y a un Dieu qui les aime et l’Église peut les aider à aller de l’avant ».
Le Rév. Chiran ajoute qu’il a dit à l’Évêque Président qu’il s’identifiait à lui car l’Évêque Curry est le premier Afro-américain à exercer les fonctions d’Évêque Président et qu’il est lui-même le premier Afro-équatorien ordonné diacre dans le diocèse.
Le Rév. Chiran a perdu une partie de sa propre maison et il est l’une des nombreuses personnes confrontées à la même, voire à une pire situation. « Personnellement, je trouve refuge dans mon travail pastoral et dans mon travail quotidien en tant qu’infirmier » ajoute-t-il. « Recommencer à zéro est difficile et vous ne pouvez pas vous empêcher de vous souvenir de tout ce que nous avons éprouvé le 16 avril ».
Les communautés sont en cours de reconstruction maintenant, démolissant le peu qui reste. Cette phase va durer jusqu’au début de l’année prochaine, poursuit-il. « Il y a tellement de gens qui doivent reconstruire et beaucoup qui tout simplement ne le peuvent pas ».
Le diacre nous confie qu’un homme lui a récemment dit qu’il avait travaillé toute sa vie pour sa maison mais que maintenant il « allait devoir travailler le reste de ses jours pour rembourser une nouvelle fois le gouvernement » parce que le gouvernement n’offre que des prêts jusqu’à hauteur de 10 000 $, pas de l’aide directe.
« Nous motiver pour avancer est très difficile mais nous savons que les prières de nos frères et sœurs, quelle que soit la congrégation, nous aident et nous encouragent » poursuit le Rév. Chiran. « Nous sommes abattus et épuisés mais nous avons encore l’espoir que quelque chose de bon en sortira. Nous remercions la communauté internationale de son appui ».
– Clara Villatoro est une journaliste basée à San Salvador (El Salvador). – La Rév. Mary Frances Schjonberg est rédacteur et journaliste pour l’Episcopal News Service.
Last night, not far from the place where a sniper shot President Kennedy, another sniper targeted police and transit police officers. They were on duty during what was, until the shooting broke out, a peaceful protest notable for the cooperative spirit between law enforcement officers and members of the community who had taken to the streets to protest the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Five officers are now dead, and seven officers and two civilians were wounded.
Today, filled with surging emotions and thoughts too many to name, we begin again our collective grief for those whose lives ended too soon and all who will forever mourn their loss. I thank you for including in your prayers all the law enforcement officers who go to work everyday with the awareness that their lives may be at risk, those of all races who gathered last night to work for a society in which all of our citizens are safe, and those who fear, not without reason, that our homeland is becoming a war zone.
This morning, on behalf of all in the Diocese of Washington, I reached out to my counterpart Bishop George Sumner of Dallas to offer our condolences and assure him of our prayers for all the people of his diocese, and in particular for those who work in law enforcement.
Then I called my sister who lives not far from Dallas. Her youngest son is currently serving in military law enforcement in South Korea. “When will this end?” she had just emailed him. His response: “When Jesus comes back.” “I’m ready for him to come back,” she told me. One some days we all feel that way.
But until that time when all is taken from our hands, we are among those called to be instruments of peace in times of violence. For even when hope falters, hope for Christians is never lost. As Bishop Sumner wrote to his diocese:
I have no easy answer to the crisis in which we find ourselves as Americans. But this much is clear: Dallas Christians, black and white, of all denominations, are called to stand together. As one we pray for those harmed. We who do so are already one body in Jesus Christ, in spite of all the fault lines in our society. May the Holy Spirit guide us all in discerning the shape of our common witness.
It has been a dreadful week in America. But in the hardest times, resolve can emerge to forge a new way. May it be so today. We are one people, called in this hour to face the hardest truths, together. We can do this, with God’s help, and we must.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
I have struggled to make sense of all that has happened this past week. Black men have been killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota. Policemen have been killed serving in the line of duty – several days ago here, in Harvey, and just yesterday in Dallas while they protected citizens demonstrating against violence. It is true that a deep and systemic racial divide permeates our country. It is true that we can have the highest regard for those who serve and protect us, while still wanting there to be policies that protect our most vulnerable community members. And it is also true that we must work to make this world a better place for our children and grandchildren. We are proving ourselves unworthy of them.
As Episcopalians in Louisiana we are all entangled in each of these stories and the Jesus story. There is no avoiding the fact that the violence that affects one of us, affects us all. In the coming days and weeks, I will be working with the Racial Reconciliation Commission to help determine how we, as the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, might best respond to the tragic deaths of this past week as the hands and feet and voices of Jesus here in our communities. We cannot merely be spectators.
[Anglican Communion News Service] The Church of England’s General Synod on the evening of July 8 called on all members of the church to “play their part” in the “common task of building a generous and forward looking country.” The call came following an emergency debate on a motion added to the synod’s agenda by the archbishops of Canterbury and York in response to the recent referendum in which the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
“It is perfectly clear that the result and the referendum campaign exposed deep divisions in our society, of which we were aware already,” Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said. “They are especially complex because they are divisions, in part, about our identity as a nation, whether in England or other parts of the U.K. And identity is always more difficult to deal with than issue-driven politics…
“The result has released a latent racism and xenophobia in all sectors, and challenges the prevailing consensus of tolerance and acceptance, thus threatening other areas of welcome liberalization. And … we are going to face a period of profound uncertainty.”
The archbishop said that tackling inequality in the U.K. was essential to respond to the fears and anxieties that had arisen during the campaign. He said that an increase in child poverty was one of the signs that “inequality is growing in our land.”
He added: “Greater equality seeks the common good, and opens opportunities for aspiration in all households. The shock of Brexit must be one that forces us into a juster and a fairer society, and a more equal one.”
The archbishop called for a renewed commitment to education, public health, and housing; and “a forward foreign policy that is based in development and love for the poor, those caught in conflict and suffering around the world.”
He concluded: “The outbursts of the last two weeks may pass, but the signal has been set at danger for our cohesion, and the church must respond with a fresh effort in integration.”
The motion adopted by the synod commended “the work already carried out by the church in bringing communities together” and suggested that each diocese appoint “a champion … to assess what more the church could do and to make recommendations for creating stronger and more constructive links between local communities.”
- Click here to read the full text of Archbishop Welby’s speech