Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The events in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend were terrible and tragic. Racism is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and has no place in the Church. In the midst of the violence and divisions in our countries, our congregations have the opportunity to be sanctuaries of peace, and to work for reconciliation in our communities. In the days ahead, I hope that you will take these opportunities in your local context, and share the transforming love of Jesus, which is the only thing that can truly heal us.
I want to draw your attention to two statements from the Anglican Church in North America over the weekend. These were shared on social media, but deserve as wide a distribution as possible. The first is a Call to Prayer from Bishop John Guernsey, Dean of Provincial Affairs, whose diocese includes Charlottesville, Virginia. I encourage you to pray this prayer with me this week. The second statement comes from the Anglican Church in North America’s Anglican Multiethnic Network.
The links for each statement are also below. Please share these as you are able.
From Bishop John Guernsey, Bishop of the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic:
“O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” –Texts for Common Prayer
From the Anglican Mutli-ethnic Network:
We want to make it abundantly clear that as Anglicans we believe that all people are created in God’s image and, as image bearers, all are worthy of equal dignity and respect. God does not value one ethnicity above another. His Son shed his blood for us all. We find our meaning and value in his death, resurrection, and ascension for us, which both humbles and exalts people of all ethnicities. Christ is the source of our reconciliation with God and each other. White supremacy, therefore, is an affront to the gospel because it speaks against the Anglican (and wider Christian) doctrines of creation, salvation, and ecclesiology (the one people of God called from all the ethnicities of the earth). Racism and white supremacy have no place in Anglicanism.
We confess that as Anglicans we ourselves have a long way to go in reflecting in our churches God’s vision for his multicolored Kingdom and addressing the concerns of communities of color, but we are committed for the long haul to seek the fullness of God’s purposes in all these things. We ask you to pray for Charlottesville and North America-that racism would be overcome and that we might live together in harmony. We also ask that you pray for the Church-that God might grant us the wisdom to be salt and light during these challenging times.