Bishops Call for Prayers for the City of Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia
January 18, 2020
Dear Friends in Christ,
We Bishops of the Diocese of Virginia write to urge you to join us and countless others in prayer all weekend long for the city of Richmond. Please pray particularly on Monday, which is not only the day when we commemorate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but is also Lobby Day at the State Capitol in the heart of Richmond.
Thousands of people from across the Commonwealth and from states far away are expected to converge on the Capitol grounds to protest against gun control legislation that is before our General Assembly. In the face of credible threats of violence, our Governor, Ralph Northam, has declared a state of emergency and banned all firearms from the Capitol grounds. Airspace over the grounds has been restricted to prevent attacks from drones. Roads around the Capitol grounds will be closed. Virginia Commonwealth University has cancelled all classes on Monday and a number of businesses in downtown Richmond have authorized their employees to work from home. St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the Capitol grounds, will be closed all day because the safety of their clergy and staff could not be assured. An afternoon rally on the Capitol grounds to remember victims of gun violence and to support reasonable gun control legislation has been cancelled. Our Diocesan offices, ten blocks from the Capitol, were already scheduled to be closed on Monday.
In light of these challenging circumstances that bring immediately to mind the horrific events in Charlottesville almost two and a half years ago, we pray. We pray first and foremost for peace and for an end to violence. We also pray for:
- All who come to Richmond this weekend to exercise their right of free speech, that they do so without violence;
- Our police and all who will work to protect the crowds;
- Our governor and all legislators of the Commonwealth;
- All who have suffered because of the epidemic of gun violence in our cities, Commonwealth and nation;
- All who have died because of gun violence; and
- All who are afraid.
May God, who hears our prayers, give us the gifts of hope and courage in these times of uncertainty and change. May we commit to living the vows we made at our baptism every day as we become more and more Jesus’ hands and feet in a world so in need of his love.
Bishop Susan E. Goff
Bishop Jennifer Brooke-Davidson