Doing Our Part:
How Episcopalians Can Respond to Gun Violence in Our Communities and States
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Note: the following information is presented in English and Spanish
Aviso: La siguiente información se presenta en inglés y en español
A Word on Protest and Federal Policing
[August 4, 2020] The Episcopal Church House of Bishops met virtually July 28-29, 2020. The following statement was adopted on July 29. While the situation on the ground in Portland has changed, the bishops believe it is important to share their statement about protest and policing:
Blessed be the Lord! *
----------------- for he has shown me the wonders of his love in a
-------------------------- besieged city.—Psalm 31:21
We bishops gathered virtually on July 28 and 29 in the midst of an unprecedented series of public moments in the United States: an ongoing pandemic causing great physical, emotional, and economic suffering; continuing protests over the use of deadly force by police, especially in communities of color; and an expanding investigation into the depth and extent of systemic racism in our national life and history. Any one of these would be a major disruption in American national life. The confluence of all of them has been truly world-changing, and has left some angry, others hopeful.
If there is one event during the time we met which encapsulated all the anxieties and aspirations of U.S. bishops in the House, it is the situation in Portland, Oregon and other cities. Even as we were meeting the mostly nonviolent protests in these cities continue, as does the deployment of unmarked, anonymous federal officers there.
We Episcopalians stand in a creative tension with regard to civil authority. We are the inheritors of an established church tradition and so it is our longstanding custom to honor legitimate government. At the same time, we follow One who challenged the civil authority of his own day.
The national and international conflicts of the twentieth century have taught us the value of protest and civil disobedience. The Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth century was built on Christian social principles. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Protest beyond the law is not a departure from democracy; it is absolutely essential to it.”
We certainly share and understand the concern for protection of life and property. What troubles us is the unprecedented nature of the federal response to a largely peaceful protest. The federal forces deployed in Portland and elsewhere are unidentified and patrol in unmarked rental cars. They detain and arrest protesters without probable cause. They are specifically uninvited and rejected by the elected civil authorities of where they are deployed.
As bishops we serve both as civic leaders and pastors. We are concerned both for the health of our body politic and for the suffering and injustice we see in our streets. We commit ourselves both to advocate for continued nonviolence on the part of the protesters across the United States and for a return of policing authority to local agencies who are known by and accountable to the people’s elected representatives. Respect for the rule of law cuts both ways: protesters must respect life and property; authorities must abide by due process.
The United States is not the first nation to face these challenges, and it will not be the last. But the church cannot remain silent when we see such flagrant abuse of civil power deployed against those who stand for justice and peace and against systemic institutional racism. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian who gave his life standing with those who challenged merciless power masquerading as legal authority, “Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness, and pride of power, and with its plea for the weak.”
May we all, in our shared witness to the love, justice, and reconciliation proclaimed and embodied in Jesus Christ, do all in our power to return the streets of all our cities to the peace of the heavenly city toward which we walk. And in this time of unique challenges and opportunities, may we continue to hold before us the vision of love and justice which have inspired Jesus and all his followers from his day to ours.
Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal, julio de 2020:
Una palabra sobre la protesta y la vigilancia policial
[4 de agosto de 2020] La Cámara de Obispos se reunió virtualmente los días 28 y 29 de julio de 2020. La siguiente declaración se aprobó el 29 de julio. Si bien la situación sobre actual en Portland ha cambiado, los obispos creen que es importante compartir su declaración sobre la protesta y la policía:
¡Bendito sea el Señor! *
------------------- me ha demostrado la maravilla de su amor en
-------------------------- ciudad sitiada. —Salmo 31:21
Los obispos nos reunimos virtualmente el 28 y 29 de julio en medio de una serie de acontecimientos públicos sin precedentes en Estados Unidos: una pandemia persistente que causa un gran sufrimiento físico, emocional y económico; continuas protestas por el uso de la fuerza letal de parte de la policía, especialmente en comunidades de color; y una investigación creciente sobre la profundidad y el alcance del racismo sistémico en nuestra vida e historia nacional. Cualquiera de estos sucesos constituiría una interrupción importante en la vida nacional estadounidense. La confluencia de todos ellos ha cambiado realmente el mundo y ha dejado a algunos enojados y a otros esperanzados.
Si hay un evento, [ocurrido] durante el lapso de tiempo en que nos reunimos, que resume todas las ansiedades y aspiraciones de los obispos de EE.UU. en la Cámara, es la situación en Portland, Oregón, y en otras ciudades. Incluso mientras sesionamos, las protestas, en su mayoría no violentas, en estas ciudades continúan, al igual que el despliegue allí de agentes federales anónimos y sin identificaciones.
Los episcopales nos mantenemos en una tensión creativa con respecto a la autoridad civil. Somos los herederos de la tradición de una Iglesia establecida, y en consecuencia es nuestra inveterada costumbre honrar al gobierno legítimo. Al mismo tiempo, seguimos a Aquel que desafió a la autoridad civil de su época.
Los conflictos nacionales e internacionales del siglo XX nos han enseñado el valor de la protesta y la desobediencia civil. El movimiento de derechos civiles de mediados del siglo XX se edificó sobre principios sociales cristianos. En palabras del Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., «La protesta que infringe la ley no es una desviación de la democracia; es absolutamente esencial a ella».
Ciertamente, compartimos y entendemos la preocupación por la protección de la vida y la propiedad. Lo que nos preocupa es la naturaleza sin precedentes de la respuesta federal a una protesta en gran medida pacífica. Las fuerzas federales desplegadas en Portland y en otros lugares no están identificadas y patrullan en autos de alquiler camuflados. Detienen y arrestan a los manifestantes sin causa probable [y] son específicamente indeseados y rechazados por las autoridades civiles electas de los sitios donde se han desplegado.
Como obispos, servimos como líderes cívicos y como pastores. Nos preocupa tanto la salud de nuestra clase política como el sufrimiento y la injusticia que vemos en nuestras calles. Nos comprometemos tanto a abogar porque se mantenga la no violencia de parte de los manifestantes en Estados Unidos, como por el regreso de la autoridad policial a las agencias locales que son conocidas de los representantes electos del pueblo y responden a ellas. El respeto al estado de derecho se aplica a ambas partes: los manifestantes deben respetar la vida y la propiedad; Las autoridades deben cumplir con el debido proceso.
Estados Unidos no es la primera nación en enfrentar estos desafíos, y no será la última. Pero la Iglesia no puede permanecer callada cuando vemos un abuso tan flagrante del poder civil desplegado contra los que defienden la justicia y la paz y protestan contra el racismo institucional sistémico. En palabras de Dietrich Bonhoeffer, un teólogo que dio su vida por defender a los que desafiaron al poder inmisericorde disfrazado de autoridad legal: «el cristianismo se levanta o cae por su protesta revolucionaria contra la violencia, la arbitrariedad y la soberbia del poder, y por su defensa de los débiles».
Que todos, en nuestro testimonio compartido del amor, la justicia y la reconciliación proclamados y encarnados en Jesucristo, hagamos todo lo que esté a nuestro alcance para devolver las calles de todas nuestras ciudades a la paz de la ciudad celestial hacia la cual nos dirigimos. Y en este momento de desafíos y oportunidades únicos, que sigamos teniendo ante nosotros la visión del amor y la justicia que inspirara a Jesús y a todos sus seguidores desde su día hasta el nuestro.
On the web/En la red:
Episcopal Church House of Bishops July 2020: A Word on Protest and Federal Policing
Cámara de Obispos de la Iglesia Episcopal, julio de 2020: Una palabra sobre la protesta y la vigilancia policial
Dear friends and colleagues:
One week ago today we held our webinar entitled Reimagining Policing in a Just World. For those of you who were able to attend, we’ve already gotten lots of great feedback from you: insightful comments and observations, and thoughts about what comes next.
For those of you who couldn’t be with us last week, or for anyone who wants to listen again and/or pass it on to your family and friends, here is the link to the webinar:
We are so grateful to our two prophets and friends — Andrea Ritchie and Catherine Meeks — for sharing their hope and vision with us. They are both such a blessing!
And thank you to all of you — each in your own corner of G-d’s vineyard — who are working so hard to bring the Kingdom of God a little bit closer to all of us here on this fragile earth, our island home.
Pursuing peace and justice,
and also on behalf of Canon John Denaro,
Rector of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity, Pro-Cathedral
The Rev. Marie A. Tatro
Vicar for Community Justice Ministry,
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
St. Ann & the Holy Trinity,
Pro-Cathedral of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island,
Something is happening!
A group of people, who are passionate about caring for the world that God has made, are coming together to build a new Creation Care Community in the Diocese of Long Island. We want YOU to be part of it. We are longing to hear how God is already at work in your congregation, and the ways you are feeling called to care for the Earth.
Following on the success of our first conversation and relationship building event, we are hosting three more conversations over the summer. They will be regionally focused to allow for more connections to be built between folks sharing the same regional questions.
Follow the link to Register for the events, which are all at 6:30pm. You can attend more than one, or one for a different region if you wish or cannot make the date for your region!
Brooklyn - Monday, July 13
Nassau/Suffolk - Tuesday, July 28
Queens - Thursday, August 13
Bring your passions. Bring your questions.
Email The Rev. Mary Beth Mills-Curran firstname.lastname@example.org.
PS: Please note that these conversations are distinct from the forum on “Caring for Creation: Reflect, Renew, Respond” on 7/15, convened by our colleagues at St. Thomas (Farmingdale) and St. Boniface (Lindenhurst).
AIDS History at Grace Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of California
When the AIDS crisis emerged in the early 1980s, Grace Cathedral and the Episcopal Diocese of California were at the forefront of a compassionate response.
They communicated widely that all impacted by the disease were welcome at the cathedral to seek solace and support. The cathedral offered labyrinth walks, reviving an ancient spiritual practice of peace and healing.
The cathedral also offered funeral services for anyone who succumbed to AIDS, regardless of whether a person was a member of the congregation — this at a time when some churches hesitated to offer such services to the afflicted.
At the peak of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, the congregation was burying up to 35 people a week. Many of the first panels of The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt were sewn in cathedral meeting rooms. And, in 1995, the cathedral and the community began to work on creating the AIDS Interfaith Memorial Chapel; it was completed and dedicated in 2000.
ContactStephanie Martin Taylor, The Episcopal Diocese of California
Michael Rolph, Grace Cathedral
Tel: (415) 749-6300
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
St. Boniface, Lindenhurst and St. Thomas, Farmingdale have joined together to collaborate on a grant called Care for Creation: REFLECT, RENEW, RESPOND. Using the strengths, assets, mission and key opportunities of each parish, our goal is to to support and expand our churches’ loving, liberating, life-giving relationship with God, with each other and with Creation. With this grant, we will heed the calls to:
REFLECT (Life Giving) – changing our habits and choices to live more simply, humbly and gently on Earth and in community with one another.
RENEW (Loving) – sharing stories of concern for the Earth and connect others to care.
RESPOND (Liberating) – standing with those most vulnerable to environmental degradation and climate change.
One aspect of this grant is to create the opportunity for learning ways to experience how to REFLECT, RENEW AND RESPOND - to pause, pray and see beyond ourselves. We would like to open this opportunity to your parish as well.
Join us on Wednesday, July 15, 2020 on a Zoom Meeting from 7- 8 pm as we explore meaningful ways to promote self-reflection, renewal, and re-connection within ourselves, in each other and the natural wonders God has abundantly provided all around us. Hands-on experiences will be offered.
For additional information, and to RSVP, please email: email@example.com
Please RSVP no later than July 13th to receive the ZOOM ID information.
A Flyer is below. Please feel free to share with your parish!
Diane L. Neuls DeBlasio+,
Priest-in-charge, St. Boniface, Lindenhurst
Christina van Liew+,
Interim, St. Thomas, Farmingdale
From your Community Justice Vicar
1) AG public hearing on police encounters, 2) LGBTQ Pride event from June 7th, 3) Juneteenth Prayerful Protest March in Mineola, and 4) some words from our Pro-Cathedral
Friends and colleagues,
I pray that you are all coping alright, and surviving these challenging and complicated days.
There are 4 things that I want to bring to your attention:
1) Tomorrow, Wed. June 17th starting at 11am, our NYS AG Tish James is hosting a virtual public hearing on the interactions between police and the general public during recent protests. The livestream public hearing can be accessed tomorrow morning from the homepage of the AG’S website.
2) On June 7th, the Pro-Cathedral and the LGBTQ Working Group in the Diocese, along with other co-sponsors, hosted a deep and powerful conversation with Bishop Deon K. Johnson, the newly consecrated bishop in the Diocese of Missouri, and the first openly gay and Caribbean-born bishop in the Episcopal Church. Here is the link to the recording of the webinar.
3) There will be a Prayerful Protest March starting at the Supreme Court in Mineola to acknowledge and observe Juneteenth, this Friday, June 19th. For those unfamiliar with Juneteenth, it is the observance of the “official” proclamations on June 19, 1865 that slavery was “ended,” but obviously it’s far more complicated than that. There are many writings dedicated to this history, and here is just one of them from Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on the PBS website: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/african-americans-many-rivers-to-cross/history/what-is-juneteenth/
Here is the link for the Juneteenth Prayerful Protest March on Friday
https://www.facebook.com/events/795513980852512/ and a link for more flyers,
4) And finally, below is a link to the Pro-Cathedral service last Sunday. Toward the very end of the service, at about the 28 minute mark, we list a number of trusted local (mostly NYC-based) organizations with which St. Ann & the Holy Trinity is familiar. If you’re looking to connect with — or wish to donate to — some great folks in the City doing God’s work, this is a good place to start. (And if you are interested in hearing my sermon, that comes in at about the 9 minute, 30 second mark.)
Stay safe and be well.
Rev. Marie A. Tatro
Vicar for Community Justice Ministry,
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
It has been a terrible week in America. On top of the immense grief and pain that COVID-19 has already caused in my beloved City of New York, we, like nearly every other city in the country, are now grappling with the anger and heartbreak of more state-sanctioned killings of Black people, and taking to the streets.
The government’s reaction was to impose a curfew. The last time an official curfew was imposed was in 1943, when then New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia put a curfew in place to halt Harlem protests after police shot and injured an African American soldier.
This email was going to merely encourage you to register for our Pride event coming up this Sunday. We will surely carry on with this event, but will do so with even heavier hearts and a deeper commitment to love our neighbors who bear the brunt of these abuses.
Our conversation with Bishop-elect Deon Johnson will still cover multiple areas of identity, theology, and the politics of belonging. But our conversation will also be textured by recent events, taking place against the backdrop of the murders of our sisters and brothers of African descent, and the public reaction to these injustices.
Please join us on June 7th, and register at this link:
Be blessed and stay safe.
Pursuing justice and peace,
The Rev. Marie Tatro
Vicar for Community Justice Ministry
Episcopal Diocese of Long Island
NPR: "America: Are we Ready: A National Call-in about Racism, Violence and our Future Together"
The new NPR station, WPPB-FM 88.3 on Long Island, will carry a two-hour program tonight, "America: Are we Ready: A National Call-in about Racism, Violence and our Future Together."
You can listen on-air in Eastern Long Island or
online at www.peconicpublicbroadcasting.org.