Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut:
Once again we have witnessed the horrific results of gun violence in our nation. Last night a yet unidentified gunman entered the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina and shot and killed nine innocent people. The fact that the man who did the shooting is white and all the victims were African-American leads us to assume that this is a hate crime motivated by racism. Such death and destruction is utterly sinful and must be decried in the strongest of terms.
We, your bishops, have already been in contact with the Rt. Rev. Charles G. vonRosenberg, Provisional Bishop of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina, assuring him and the people of Charleston of the thoughts and prayers of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. We ask you and your parishes to keep the victims and their loved ones, the people of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and of Charleston, and our whole nation in your prayers for peace, non-violence, and healing.
Sadly this shooting reminds us that our nation continues to be wracked by senseless gun violence. We in Connecticut know the pain and suffering caused by the killing of innocent victims. This madness has got to stop. We ask you to continue your efforts to end gun violence in our society and to work for harmony, understanding, and justice in the face of racism and hate in our world.
At the request of Bishop vonRosenberg, let us join with sisters in brothers in Christ in South Carolina saying together the words of the prayer attributed to St. Francis:
“Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith, where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loves as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens