Picture credit St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, Buffalo, NY
The Episcopal News Service offers a round-up of episcopal and diocesan responses to the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers in Ferguson, MO and in New York over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, respectively. Some also referred to the death of Tamir Rice, the twelve-year-old boy shot dead by police in Cleveland shortly before Thanksgiving, and Akai Gurley, killed by police in a stairwell in Brooklyn the previous week.
They mourn broken trust:
The anger of a people who trusted a justice system to be their voice felt justice was denied; theirs was a righteous anger, and their voices yearned to be heard. – The Rt. Rev. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California
They call for peaceful protest:
Our prayers go out for peace, calm and faithful indignation that will bring about change. – The Rt. Rev. Lawrence C. Provenzano, Bishop of Long Island
They name our sin:
The continuing legacy of racism and a culture of gun violence are among those sins by which we are sorely hindered. The toxic combination of the two has been made manifest most recently in the death of an unarmed man on a Ferguson street, another unarmed man in a New York stairwell, and a 12-year-old boy on a Cleveland playground. – The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop; The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Diocese of Massachusetts
They draw on our common humanity and our baptismal covenant to call us to prayer and action:
We, as sisters and brothers in Christ, are baptized into a faith which reaches out and cares for all of God’s children. – Bishop High, Diocese of Fort Worth
We give thanks that all people, in our many and manifold differences, are created in the image of God. We hope and pray for an end to violence and injustice in our society. And we call on the people of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut to work for a “blessed community” where all are treated equally with respect and dignity. – The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Diocese of Conneticut
In our baptismal covenant, we pledge to respect the dignity of every human being. – The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee, Bishop of Chicago
The Very Revd Will Mebane, Jr., Interim Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Buffalo, NY, shared a theological perspective on the words, “I can’t breathe” in an interview on WGRZ. Clergy and congregation members wore buttons Sunday bearing those words:
“We’re saying that ‘I can’t breathe’ was a plea not only from Eric Garner but was a plea from the spirit of God resting in him … pleading for life.”
Have you taken part in prayerful protests and/or direct action? Share your stories below.
Posted by Rosalind Hughes