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Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

Christchurch releases third option for earthquake-destroyed cathedral

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:56pm

[Anglican  Taonga] The Diocese of Christchurch has issued details of a third option for the future of ChristChurch Cathedral that would offer the building as a gift to the government for the people of Aotearoa New Zealand.

If Christchurch Diocesan Synod selects the new option, it would direct the Church Property Trustees (CPT) to enter into negotiations with the Government for the gifting of the ChristChurch Cathedral building to the people of New Zealand.

“We love and have always loved the Cathedral building in the Square” said Bishop Victoria Matthews in the Aug. 14 statement.

“Our concern with CPT committing to full reinstatement has always been about the risk of the cost going over what we are able to commit to the reinstatement.

“For example, if the damage is worse than anticipated, or there is a fundraising shortfall, we would be in serious trouble even with the generous government offer.

“We need to be good stewards.

“By gifting the cathedral building to the government, it would be reinstated to its former glory and managed by them on behalf of all New Zealanders for use as a public space.”

If synod chooses to offer the cathedral to the nation, the CPT would share its knowledge and experience of the building to assist the government in its reinstatement.

Although the cathedral would no longer be owned by the Anglican Church, the diocese would seek permission to use the building for large services, such as Easter and Christmas, as part of any agreement.

The new option ‘C’ will now sit alongside the two existing options for synod members to consider before their September 8-9 meeting:

Option A: full reinstatement of the building taking up the government grant and loan, Christchurch City Council loan and Great Christchurch Buildings Trust fundraising pledge, alongside the Church’s cathedral insurance payout.

Option B: construction of an inspiring highly functional new cathedral in the square on the current site, incorporating features and materials from the old cathedral building, using the church’s cathedral insurance payout.

Option C: gifting ChristChurch Cathedral to the government for the people of New Zealand.

The full statement released by the Diocese of Christchurch is here

Archbishop of Canterbury backs ‘sex-workers’ charity

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:53pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has given his backing to a charity set up to support women involved in the “sex industry”. Charis Tiwala works to “give people in the sex industry the opportunity for choice again; a choice to exit if they wish, and a choice to rebuild a new life as they would choose to live it,” the Archbishop’s office said in a statement.

The charity’s workers build relationships with the women through baking courses, Bible studies, Pilates classes and assistance with sexual health. Staff and volunteers visit establishments such as saunas to offer chaplaincy and befriending services and to “engage at whatever the point of need is with the utmost care and respect for each person.”

Read the full article here.

Child abuse inquiry recommends an end to aeal of the confessional

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:50pm

[Anglican Communion News Service] The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – the official independent inquiry in Australia, has recommended that the failure to report child sexual abuse in institutions should be made a criminal offence. And it said that there should be “no exemption, excuse, protection or privilege from the offence granted to clergy for failing to report information disclosed in connection with a religious confession.”

The recommendations are amongst a sweep of 85 legislative and policy changes proposed in a report Criminal Justice, released by the Commission Aug. 14, “aimed at reforming the Australian criminal justice system in order to provide a fairer response to victims of institutional child sexual abuse.”

Read the complete article here.

Arizona: Bishop’s statement on Charlottesville demonstrations

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:46pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Arizona] I join with our Presiding Bishop in praying for those who died and were injured, and with my fellow bishops and clergy, and Arizona elected representatives in condemning the acts of domestic terrorism we witnessed [Aug. 12] in Charlottesville, Virginia. Members of “alt-right” groups, Klan Members, and Neo-Nazis are not patriots and they are not Christian. They are evil and we in the church must be unequivocal in condemning both their ideology and their actions. I would ask that you continue to pray for those killed or injured and that you demand that our political leadership might courageously and completely reject such behavior as anti-American. Please also include in your prayers religious leaders that we allow no place in our communities for the sin of racism.

The Rt. Rev. Kirk Smith

Episcopal Divinity School: Deans says Charlottesville reflected ‘ugly truth’ about America

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:41pm

[Black Theology Project] While the Charlottesville, Virginia, “Unite the Right Rally” is certainly alarming, it should come as no real surprise. For as disgusting as many Americans find the beliefs of these “alt-right” crusaders, their white supremacist beliefs reflect an ugly truth about this country. The truth is this country, even as it proclaims freedom and justice for all, was founded on an “Anglo-Saxon myth” of white racial superiority.

This is a truth that Donald Trump’s politics has tapped into and brought into clear relief. Simply put, during his campaign and now presidency, Mr. Trump guilefully exploited America’s defining Anglo-Saxon myth while dangerously revitalizing the culture of whiteness that serves to protect it.

Many Americans, horrified by the hate and violence on display in Charlottesville, exclaim, “This is not America!” But the truth we need to know to actually root out white supremacy is that this is integral to America, and has been, from the very beginning.

Read the full essay here.

The Rev. Kelly Brown Douglas

Dean, Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary

Western Louisiana: Bishop says Christians must ‘denounce this hate and violence’

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:36pm

[Huffington Post] The nation and the world watched in heartsick disbelief this weekend as white supremacists gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia. Waving Nazi flags and raising the Nazi salute, the mob could not have made its racist ideology clearer.

Chillingly, the mob chanted “blood and soil,” a notorious catchphrase of the Third Reich. “Blood” refers to racial distinctions and asserts the superiority of whites over all others. Suppression of non-whites in a struggle for racial dominance is part of this distorted worldview.

Read the full essay here.

The Rt. Rev. Jake Owensby

 

New Jersey: Pastoral letter from the bishop on events in Charlottesville

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:29pm

[Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey]

The Feast of Jonathan Myrick Daniels – August 14, 2017

Dear People of the Diocese of New Jersey,

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good….Romans 12:21

This past weekend great evil was manifested in Charlottesville, Virginia, as white American nationalist terrorists openly marched and fomented violence, hatred, and murder. Unregulated militia in uniform, carrying long-rifles, used the power of threat in an attempt to intimidate those who oppose them. Imitating other terrorists in other countries, Nazi-sympathizer and White Nationalist, 20-year old James Alex Fields, Jr. allegedly used his car to mow down 19 people, in addition to killing Heather Heyer who was there as a peaceful demonstrator showing her opposition to the injustice and hatred Fields and his companions spouted.

No one should be surprised by what happened in Charlottesville. In our current political climate, so-called white supremacy, white nationalism, neo-Nazism and the overt racism of the KKK have been empowered and emboldened to spew hatred publicly and without shame. Sadly, some counter-protesters allowed themselves to be baited and responded to the violence with violence. There is no moral equivalence, however. White nationalists and white supremacists holding hateful, racist positions armed themselves and came to Charlottesville to instigate violence and hatred. They succeeded.

I was thankful for the clergy who were present in Charlottesville, including my colleagues in the Diocese of Virginia, The Right Reverend Shannon Johnston, The Right Reverend Susan Goff, and Right Reverend Ted Gulick. They went to Charlottesville to pray, to evidence that authentic Christianity has no place for the kind of hatred peddled by white supremacists and white nationalists. They were resolute, calm and overtly non-violent.

It needs to be stated without equivocation that racism, the tenets of white supremacy, white nationalism, Nazism and similar ideologies cannot be reconciled with the teachings of Jesus or the Christian faith. Those who claim Christian identity while holding these types of views can only be viewed as heretics and in error. As Episcopalians, we are sworn to oppose these. Our baptismal promises allow no room for compromise:

Will you persevere in resisting evil and whenever you sin, repent and return to the Lord?

Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons loving your neighbor as yourself?

Will strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being?

(BCP pp. 304-305)

All are welcome in the Episcopal Church; hatred and bigotry are not. Being clear with those who hold hateful, bigoted views, or who act in hateful and bigoted ways, that these views and actions are not acceptable and cannot be harmonized with authentic Christian faith and living is an act of love. A wise priest once said to me, “Sometimes ‘no’ is the language of love.”

Sadly, racism and bigotry still infect not only our nation, but also our Church and our diocese. With society, we all still have much work to do. I will be consulting with our Anti-Racism Commission and Team to consider how we might deepen our work and be more effective in the days and weeks ahead.

Today, August 14 on the Church calendar, we remember Jonathan Myrick Daniels, who as a seminarian went to Selma, Alabama in 1965 to confront racism and oppression and and who became a martyr protecting a teenage African-American girl when he was killed by a shotgun blast at the hand of a white  supremacist.

On Saturday, Heather Heyer joined Jonathan Myrick Daniels, Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and a long list of martyrs – of many races and creeds – who died striving to oppose racial injustice and hatred in this country. The last post on Heather Heyer’s Facebook page stated, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”

Needless to say, she was right.

I direct all congregations to pray the following prayer in unison either at the Offertory or after the postcommunion prayer beginning August 20th and for the next four Sundays:

For the Human Family – (BCP p. 815)

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.

Blessings and peace.

Faithfully yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. William H. Stokes

Massachusetts: Bishop calls for prayer following Charlottesville violence

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 1:24pm

[Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts] We condemn the hatred behind Saturday’s gathering in Charlottesville of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other purveyors of bigotry, which is equally un-American and un-ChristianWe affirm, with the bishops of Virginia, that as followers of Christ “we have been entrusted with the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-19) … [and] cannot remain silent in the face of those who seek to foment division.”

We pray with and for those who have sought to maintain peaceful witness in Charlottesville. In the face of continuing volatility there, all congregations are urged to pray on Sunday for peace, and for the courage to maintain our gospel ideals in the face of racism, anti-Semitism and all forms of hate-mongering.

The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates
Bishop

North Carolina: Episcopal bishops respond to violence in Charlottesville

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:48am

[Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina] The violence this past weekend in Charlottesville is both heartbreaking and sickening. Heartbreaking that innocent lives were lost and others were seriously injured, and that violence was used to try and silence and intimidate those who stood against hatred, racism and evil. The events were sickening in that our divisions in this country have reached a crisis point that resulted in an eruption of violence with deadly consequences.

How are we to respond, as Christians, in a way that condemns these actions, but does not contribute to the rhetoric of hate? We will need to rediscover the deep roots of non-violence embedded in the gospel and the Jesus Movement: non-violence that calls us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute others, to refuse to fight evil with evil, but to overcome evil with good.

Anger, even righteous, thirst-for-justice-anger, may be too volatile in this particular moment in time to be effective, especially if it escalates the situation. What we may need to do is to refocus and re-immerse ourselves in the powerful love of the vulnerable Jesus of Nazareth. We may need, now more than ever, to rededicate ourselves to principles Paul wrote about in his letter to the Philippians: “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God …” (Philippians 4:4-6)

Pray for the safety of the peacemakers who came to let their lights so shine. Pray for those who have been sucked into the powerful vacuum of evil that finds its force through the absence of love. Pray that those who resort to violence – no matter what their political perspective – will be met with soul force of goodness that must rise up, organize and unite people of faith from all traditions that teach and practice love of one’s neighbors.

Overcoming evil with good can happen only with an infusion of the holiness that comes from God. Our prayer is that we will be channels and vessels of the goodness and grace whose source is the author of life, the one who proclaims that all life is sacred, holy.

Yours faithfully,

The Rt. Rev. Sam Rodman
Bishop, Diocese of North Carolina

The Rt. Rev. Anne Hodges-Copple
Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of North Carolina

Indianapolis: A word from the bishop

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:29am

[Episcoapl Diocese of Indianapolis] Dear Ones,

In days like these I can’t help but think of my grandparents. My paternal grandfather grew up on the Shinnecock Indian reservation—a place awash with poverty surrounded by a sea of wealth in the Hamptons of Long Island—land they once owned. My paternal grandmother and maternal grandparents hailed from the Jim Crow south and eventually made their way north in one of the urban migrations to New York City. None of them lived to see the election of a black U.S. president. The hatred and violence of this past weekend in Charlottesville, VA was all too familiar to them. The stories of run-ins my paternal grandparents had with the KKK were told in hushed tones so that the children would not hear—but we did. And there were places my Grandma Anne, would not visit because of those incidents. Grandma Anne was tougher than nails—ask anyone who knew her—but fear of the Klan would keep her from visiting me when I lived outside of Binghamton, NY. I would tell her, my faith in God as revealed in Jesus Christ compelled me not to fear. It is perhaps both irony and destiny that as bishop of the Diocese of Indianapolis, I now visit churches in places where confederate flags fly on the houses next door. I wonder all the time what Grandma Anne would make of it.

All over our diocese, wherever the Episcopal Church is present, we offer sanctuaries of hope and communities of transformation where we learn over and over again how to die and rise again with Jesus Christ. This is not a dress rehearsal: the death and resurrection of Jesus, the triumph of love and light over evil and death is constant and we must be vigilant in naming both the evil and the love that defeats it. The events in Charlottesville this weekend, and the demonstrations of white supremacist hatred known all too well in Indiana and every corner of these United States show us evil without nuance. So let us be even more clear about our witness of love. Let our prayers be met in equal measure by our actions to dismantle systems of injustice and oppression that dehumanize and deny dignity to God’s beloved. This is what being “beacons of Jesus Christ for Central and Southern Indiana and the world” looks like. This diocese has been about this work for a long time, we must keep at it. As your bishop, I join you, encourage you, and support you in being relentless for the love of Jesus.

Be well, dear ones. May you know the love of God deeply that you may be fearless in sharing that love with the world.

Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows

Virginia Theological Seminary: Statement from the dean

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:50am

[Virginia Theological Seminary] Charlottesville, Virginia, August 2017 will unfortunately go down in history. The shocking murder of Heather D. Heyer, just 32 years of age, while she protested the white supremacists who had come to Charlottesville, is a crude and brutal reminder that racism is still an ever present reality that forms a tragic worldview that expresses itself in violence and death. Along with Heather, we remember in our prayers Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates and Lt. H. Jay Cullen, the two State Patrol troopers who died on Saturday, and the many others wounded, including those who remain in a critical condition.

For a seminary committed to the Gospel, we read the events of Charlottesville 2017 through the lens of the Gospel. We see the sinfulness of humanity—we see the persistence of conspiracy theories, hatred, and paranoia that forms the basis of the white supremacist worldview. We see the persistence of sin. For all of us who imagined that the victory of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was enduring and secure, Charlottesville 2017 is a cruel reminder that just below the surface racism is seeking to “take the country back again.” We see the tragedy of suffering, where we trust the Crucified Christ is present. And we see the Church seeking to witness to a Gospel that rejects any ideology that denies the full humanity of all.

I am proud of all of our VTS alumni who were present in Charlottesville. Bishop Shannon Johnston had encouraged clergy to attend. His call was heard. And the Episcopal Church wants to point to a world which is different—a world in which racism is explicitly condemned and persons commit to anticipating the reign of God in our society.

Let us hear the challenge of Charlottesville, VA August 2017. The mystery of white sinfulness that allowed centuries of slavery and decades of segregation and even now seeks to recreate a racist society was present on Saturday. We must not be complacent. We must all work hard to eradicate the sinful dispositions that allow racism to thrive.

The Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D.
Dean and President

Washington: What we saw in Charlottesville

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:44am

[Episcopal Diocese of Washington] Hatred cannot drive out hatred. Only love can do that.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Once again our nation’s demon of racism has reared its head, spewing hatred and inciting violence. What we saw in Charlottesville was unmasked and ugly, culminating in a deadly act of domestic terrorism.

But something else was also present in Charlottesville: the power of collective resolve and mobilized love.

Among the hundreds of people who took to the streets, stood firm in the face of evil, and did not respond in kind were members of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective (CCC). Established after the racially motivated murders in Charleston, the CCC’s mission is “to establish, develop, and promote racial unity within the faith leadership of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Region.”

For more than two years, CCC clergy and lay leaders have met monthly to strengthen friendships across racial lines; to highlight issues of race and social justice in their community; to promote strong relationships of accountability with law enforcement and community government; and to prepare themselves for the times when their united witness is needed.

Their witness was needed on Saturday, and they were ready. As white supremacists shouted words of hatred and violence, people of faith stood resolute in prayer and song. And the Episcopal Church was strong among their number: “Our purpose,” wrote the Virginia Episcopal bishops, “is to bear visible witness to the entirety of the beloved community in which people of all races are equal.”

I also give thanks for all in the Diocese of Washington and the communities we serve who are already working to meet this grotesque display of hatred with organized love. I’m proud to stand among you as we strengthen our resolve to work proactively for racial justice and prepare ourselves to stand firm in love wherever hatred rears its head. We, too, need to be ready for times such as this.

The Spirit of God is at work in our world and will prevail. The evil of racism is real, but it is not stronger than God’s love embodied in the lives of those committed to justice.

There is another important lesson here: there can remain no doubt that symbols carry tremendous power. It was chilling on Saturday to hear white supremacists chant the Nazi slogan, “Blood and Soil,” and to see them carry swastikas.

Likewise, the symbols and monuments of the Confederacy serve as touchstones and rallying sites for  racial hatred.  We must treat them accordingly. There are, in my mind, only two morally defensible options: either remove Confederate symbols and monuments or contextualize them with the truth of their origins and a broader narrative of our past to include the voices we’ve silenced and the stories we’ve never heard.

We cannot expunge the sin of racism from our past and present, but we can redeem it. And we must.

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

Washington National Cathedral: Dean says ‘racism grieves the heart of God’

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:39am

[Washington National Cathedral] For too long, too many Americans have falsely believed that the evil of racism is largely a thing of the past. We have failed to take seriously the cancer of white supremacy that lurks beneath the surface of our collective life. Today, in Charlottesville, that ugliness exploded into public view, and we must not look away.

Let me be perfectly clear: Violence and extremism in the guise of racial identity or racial pride are as sinful and twisted as violence and extremism committed in the name of God. The tragic events in Charlottesville today, and the hatred that fueled them, grieve the heart of God. All of us need to repent of the racism that still flourishes in our nation.

Together, we join with all people of conscience and goodwill to pray, in the words of our Prayer Book, that God would “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.”

We will pray for the victims of this tragedy; for God to soften the hearts of those blinded by racial hatred; and for all Americans to find the courage and strength to do the hard work of repairing the racial divisions among us.

The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean

Central Pennsylvania: Bishop’s statement on Charlottesville

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:35am

[Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania] Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

The events that unfolded on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia resulting in the death of one person and the injuries of dozens of others have put a spotlight on the deeply disturbing, profound dysfunction in our country that is personal, systemic and institutional racism. The brutal violence in Virginia that led to declaring a state of emergency and the involvement of the police and National Guard is intolerable and sinful.

On Saturday afternoon we looked to television and computer screens to inform us of the developing tragedy in the South. To do so without reflecting on the same behavior and attitudes in our own towns here in Central Pennsylvania would be shortsighted. As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers. We vow to embrace the dignity of every human being. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation in the name of Jesus. And this work is vital in our own neighborhoods and our own hearts.

I hope that you will keep the people of Charlottesville in your prayers and ask for God to comfort those who were involved in the violence this weekend. Pray for the dead and injured and their families, pray for those who witnessed the viciousness, pray in thanksgiving for those who came to control the chaos, and pray for the perpetrators. And then, commit to work in your own sphere of influence for change. Educate yourself about the sin of racism. Discover the resources that our diocese has for leading change. Open your heart to understanding that change must be broad and deep – even for those who believe themselves already redeemed- for the sake of a just and whole society.

God dreams of our complete restoration, and our final consummation as One – One in Christ, One with each other, One in peace. Together, we will strive for this wholeness and freedom.

+Audrey Scanlon

All Saints in Pasadena: ‘If we do not resist evil, we do not follow Jesus

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:30am

[All Saints Episcopal Church]

What’s happening in Charlottesville is America.
It has always been America.
This ain’t new. – Brittany Ferrell

Last night and this morning, we have seen the images from Charlottesville.

Some evil is clear. The evil of race hatred. Of police standing by doing nothing while white nationalists attack nonviolent counter-protesters. Of a terrorist driving a car into a crowd of people marching for love and basic human rights.

When we see evil like this, we must name it, confront it, resist it and defeat it. If we do not, we should not pretend that we follow Jesús. And churches and supposed Christians who are silent at this moment are making a clear choice for hate over love, Empire over the Kin-dom of God and the false Gospel of white supremacy over the revolutionary love of Jesús.

I hope we all are deeply grateful for All Saints’ own Lauren Grubaugh and the hundreds of other people of faith who gathered in Charlottesville this weekend and quite literally put their lives on the line to stand up against evil.

And yet, it is not enough for us to admire her, to admire them. We must be just as willing to sacrifice in the fight against evil.

And we must be aware that as much as the White Nationalists in Charlottesville are deathly dangerous because of the boldness with which they express the evil that has infected their hearts. As much as their boldness must be met equally boldly with, as our brother the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou says, “deep, abiding, militant, nonviolent love.” We must be aware that there are two other dangers at least as powerful in this moment.

The first is that we look at the White nationalists spewing hate and committing abominations in Charlottesville and think that is all White supremacy looks like. That the sum total of our response is to pray, like the Pharisee, “Thank God I am not like these sinners.”

Because while some evil is clear, other evil is more subtle – unless you find yourself in its crosshairs. But our call to name, confront, resist and defeat it is no less binding.

For white supremacy is not only the man carrying the torch or weaponizing the car.

White supremacy is liquor counters instead of produce sections in neighborhoods of color.

White supremacy is needing school supply drives for black and brown children to have even the most basic materials they need for class.

White supremacy is people of color needing to put up GoFundMe pages to pay for funerals and therapy.

White supremacy is America selling fear to white people and power to people of color in the form of a gun.

White supremacy is all these things and more. And we must name them, confront them, resist them and defeat them.

Second, as Ferguson Freedom Fighter Brittany Ferrell reminds us:

This ain’t new.

If the images we have seen in the past 24 hours surprise us, it means we haven’t been paying attention. Our nation was founded on White supremacy. Growing up black or brown in this nation means and has always meant second-class citizenship at best and your life and your family’s lives being in danger of being taken away with impunity at worst.

Slavery became convict leasing and peonage and Jim Crow and mass incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. Lynching never stopped, we just found different things to call it and different ways to do it. We kill our siblings of color quickly with guns and drugs and we kill our siblings of color slowly with inferior education, nutrition, health care, security, economic opportunity, with poverties of goods, services, wealth and hope.

This ain’t new. All that has happened this weekend is people standing up with disturbing boldness and saying what life in this nation has said to our siblings of color all along. You don’t matter here. You are in danger here. This land is not your land, and if you start acting like it might be (say, by electing a black president or taking to the streets demanding basic respect), we will find you and make you pay.

And there’s one more thing…

To quote another Ferguson Freedom Fighter, Kayla Reed:

“White people, save all your heartbreak and sadness and get off your ass and collect your people. #Charlottesville.”

Fellow white folk, make no mistake, these are our kin. These are our cousins, our aunts and uncles, our classmates and friends and it is well past time for us to get our house in order. It is time for us to collect our people.

After all we have put people of color through in this nation’s history, while we must listen deeply to their experience and be informed by their wisdom, as white people, we must not burden them with the responsibility of dismantling these systems and defeating this evil.

Fellow white people, this sin is ours. And it is up to us to go through the process of self-examination, confession, repentance, reparation (yes, I said reparation) and amendment of life before we can dare to hope for absolution from God and from those we have injured and killed.

At All Saints Church, we have, for more than 100 years, stood for God’s abiding love for all God’s children. We have stood up for justice and stood up against evil. The images we see this weekend are evil, and this ain’t new. And it is clear that although our efforts have been considerable and faithful, they have not nearly been enough.

It is well past time for us – individually and as a community – to rededicate ourselves to the eradication of white supremacy. A vestry resolution is nice, and it is not nearly enough. We must realize that this must be at the very core of our following of Jesús. And in dedication to that path of discipleship, we must, as Lauren and the other courageous saints who stood up in Charlottesville this weekend did, pledge to one another, in the words of Thomas Jefferson, “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

The Rev. Michael Kinnman, rector, All Saints Episcopal Church, Pasadena, California

 

Pittsburgh: A Message from Bishop McConnell

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:30am

[Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] Dear Friends in Christ,

We mourn for our country this evening. The most violent public assembly of hate groups in decades has taken place yesterday and today in Charlottesville, Virginia. The deaths and injuries are the direct result of the white nationalist ideology at the core of the gathering.

Some of those espousing these views see their movement as a holy crusade, and even invoke a Christian God to support their efforts.  Yet, nothing could be further from the love of Christ in His Cross than the politics of racial purity.

Our Lord founded His Church to be a Kingdom of priests to our God, gathered from every family, language, people and nation (Revelation 5: 9-10). Any suggestion that God desires the triumph of any race over others is a slander against the Holy Spirit, and must be rejected by Christians of every party.

In the wake of this terrible day, I call upon the churches to be obedient to our calling: pray fervently for justice, reconciliation, and peace. Pray that God will turn all our hearts toward Him and to one another. Then, beloved sisters and brothers, act on what you pray for.  Reach out to those who may fear or suspect you. Particularly in this time, I ask my white brothers and sisters humbly to offer to African American and other people of color an expression of sorrow and repentance, not only on our behalf, but on behalf of those who do not know they need to repent.  Above all, let us remember that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18) and let us act accordingly.

I thank God that, through the fledgling movement we are calling the Church Without Walls, the Holy Spirit is building bridges to racial unity among many Christian bodies in our region. I ask us to pray that the work of these groups, and other efforts from many people of good will, may be strengthened and may spread, and that God may use us mightily in healing the legacy of racism that underlies so much of our history.

In the meantime, pray for the dead and the wounded in Charlottesville, and for all those whose actions and words have injured or offended. We pray that we may have the grace to see what God would next have us do in the furtherance of His Kingdom, and that we may have the courage and power to accomplish it.

Faithfully your bishop,
The Rt. Rev. Dorsey W.M. McConnell, D.D.

Oklahoma: A Message from Bishop Ed about Charlottesville, Virginia

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 10:25am

[Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma] My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

By now, many of you have heard the news or seen the horrific acts of violence from the political demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. Acts that have left one person dead and several others injured.

As people of faith, we cannot let these actions occur without speaking out against the hatred, bigotry, and injustice perpetrated by those who commit these cruel and violent acts.

We are a nation founded upon the principles that all people are created equal, regardless of race, gender, orientation, religious persuasion, or station in life. The violence and rhetoric witnessed today do not reflect these principles, they should be condemned in the strongest possible manner, and those responsible should be held accountable.

I fear that we have lost the desire to live in community. I fear that the world has been telling us far too loudly, and for far too long, that our primary desire above all else should be promotion of self-interest. I fear that the opinion that the ends justify the means, has resulted in a common message that whatever course of action we see fit to use to accomplish our goals can be justified: dishonesty, hatred, violence, etc.

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I write to you today to remind you that the world doesn’t have the final say! We have the ability and the power to change the trajectory in which we find our world and society. Through the teachings and example of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and with the power of the Holy Spirit, we can and will make a difference. We must not allow acts of violence, hatred, bigotry, and injustice to continue. We must speak out in love; extend a hand to our neighbor; give hope to the lost and cast aside. Together our voices can drown out the vicious rhetoric that has taken over our country; and we can create a new conversation.

In the urgency of this moment, I ask your prayers for all who have been affected by today’s events. Pray for our first responders; medical personnel; victims and their loved ones; the community of Charlottesville; and all those affected by this situation. I ask you also, as our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us, to pray for those who commit these acts of injustice and violence that they may find amendment of heart, and be filled with a desire to live in the peace and love of Jesus Christ!

I ask all congregations to include the Prayer for the Human Family in their worship services, and I ask you to pray with me now:

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.

Faithfully,
+Bishop Ed Konieczny

ENS managing editor to take leave of absence, updated contact information

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 1:13pm

[Episcopal News Service] Lynette Wilson, managing editor of Episcopal News Service, will be on leave of absence beginning Aug. 14 and returning in May 2018. Wilson is one of five 2017-18 Scripps Fellows at the Center for Environmental Journalism at the University of Colorado Boulder.

The Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg, senior editor and reporter, will serve as interim managing editor.

Please direct editorial inquiries to Schjonberg at mfschjonberg@episcopalchurch.org and continue to address advertising inquiries to Matthew Davies mdavies@episcopalchurch.org.

 

National Council of Churches calls for cessation of ‘hostile acts and rhetoric’ between US, North Korea

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 4:13pm

[National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA] The National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA calls for an immediate cessation of hostile acts and rhetoric between the leaders of North Korea and the United States. Steps must be taken immediately to avoid the possibility of a cataclysmic nuclear war. Increased tension and destabilizing actions and rhetoric by both sides make such a war more likely.

In the past months, we have seen aggressions by both the United States and North Korea.  In May the United States deployed the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea. This was seen as a destabilizing move by China and other neighbors and a threat by North Korea (see previous NCCCUSA and NCCK letter to President Trump on this matter). Critics point out that THAAD is incapable of countering North Korean missiles with their low-angle trajectory; thus, this so-called defensive system is being used in an aggressive manner.

At the same time, North Korea’s testing of missile technology is well known.  The nation’s development of a miniaturized nuclear weapon brings destabilization unseen since the end of the Cold War, and its apparent new capacity to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles is of great concern.

Recent comments by the leaders of the United States and North Korea threatening hostilities are beyond alarming.  Such threats, of “fire and fury…the likes of which the world has never seen” by President Donald J. Trump, and “all-out war wiping out all the strongholds of enemies, including the US mainland” by spokespersons of Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, only serve to bring our countries, and the world, to the brink of war.  We therefore urgently call upon both leaders to tone down their similar and mutually inflammatory rhetoric.

Further, the movement of US military assets to the region, including aircraft carriers and nuclear submarines, places the world on the brink of war. Threats by North Korea regarding an attack on Guam place the US and its allies in a precarious position, bringing the world closer to the possibility that a quick and devastating nuclear exchange will take place.

Threats and bluster will not help this situation but are likely only to provoke hostilities.  Indeed, if this rhetoric were to become a reality, it would only mean the horrifying exchange of nuclear weapons.  This would not only threaten US and North Korean civilians, soldiers, and territories; nuclear and conventional war would be a complete disaster for the people of South Korea, Japan, and other countries in Asia and the Pacific.

It is therefore essential that bilateral dialogue take place, that aggressive language be discarded, and that paths to peace be pursued.  We will continue to urge our government to tone down its rhetoric and to utilize diplomacy and work with the many partners, both governmental and nongovernmental, who stand ready to assist both the United States and North Korea to de-escalate this crisis.

The National Council of Churches USA is praying fervently and will continue to pray for peace. We stand in solidarity with the National Council of Churches of Korea (South Korea), the Korean Christian Federation (North Korea), and all others who are committed to a nonviolent resolution of this conflict.

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