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Being the Church in a city locked down

Being the Church in a city locked down

The Rev. Samuel T. Lloyd III, Priest in Charge of Trinity Church, Copley Square writes to his congregation in the midst of the lockdown and manhunt in Boston and surrounding communities.

Dear Friends in Christ,

What a strange moment this is for all of us. I write this as sirens continue fly through the Back Bay. The entire city of Boston and communities around it are closed down, and we are all consigned to our homes as we follow the playing out of this drama of terrorism. We are a city in trauma and considerable fear.

In moments like this it’s crucial for us to remember who we are and whose we are. Amid the tension and anxiety of the moment, we remain a people held in God’s love, certain of our ultimate safety in God’s providential care, and called to be Christ to each other and our city in even the hardest of times.

And the key ways to holding onto that deepest identity are to pray and to stay in touch with each other. I just spoke to Bishop Tom Shaw, who asked us to pray for the people in Watertown as the high-stakes search for the second bomber goes on. It has already been a traumatic night for that community. Patrick Ward in Belmont reports that much of the gunfire of the night was happening only blocks from his home.

Let us pray for all who are in danger just now, for their safety and calm. Let us pray for the amazing law enforcement team, brave men and women whose lives are profoundly at risk at this moment and for the Governor and Mayor as they oversee this tense drama. Let us pray for our city with all its towns and suburbs as we face this threat and make our way through this anxious time. And let us pray for one another in our community, that God’s peace hold us until this dangerous period ends.

Then as you can, I encourage you to check in with close friends and companions, especially those in the Trinity community. Fear loves isolation, and companionship has the capacity to push back the darkness. Think of someone you can text, email, or call. Find time once this current crisis moment has passed to be with, to encourage, to pray with and for some of your fellow Trinitarians.

Yesterday evening a goodly number of Trinity parishioners gathered for a simple service of music and prayers at the intersection of Berkeley St. and Boylston, which has become the main gathering place for taking in the deserted landscape in and around Copley Square. Our wonderful choristers led us in singing “Amazing Grace” and “America the Beautiful” and we prayed together. A large crowd huddled around, with news cameras and reporters seeking to capture every word and note. I can’t tell you how good it was to see the faces of our Trinity community, the strength it brought to catch up with one another, the assurance it gave that we’re all in this together.

I hope you’ll think of that hardy group in the chilly evening huddled together to remember God’s grace and the goodness in our country. That’s a gift we need now and can give to each other.

One last thing. We will let you know soon whether we can worship in our own church on Sunday. If not, another plan is already in place. But in the meantime, if you want some immediate strength, pull out your Bible or Prayer Book and read the psalm for this Sunday–the 23rd–that begins “The Lord is my Shepherd.” It was written for us right now. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil.” Hold on to each other, to this Psalm, to each other, and we’ll all be fine.

With love and prayers,



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Ted Copland

Sam’s comments have been echoed by so many good clergy across the Episcopal Church. Why do you suppose we have heard from so few bishops?

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