Statement on Charlottesville Violence
Dear Companions in Christ,
We write to you on this day following the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. Once again a community in our nation has been torn apart by senseless violence resulting in bloodshed and death. We celebrate and uphold our country’s rights of free speech and assembly. We cannot condone, however, any actions motivated by racism and hate. Each and every one of us is created in the image of God. To believe or act as if one race is of more value in God’s eyes than another is sinful. We stand against such brokenness, hatred and division. And we stand with those who work for peace and justice for all.
Our prayers go out for all who have been affected by this violence. We pray for the people and community leaders of Charlottesville that they may find wholeness and healing. We pray for the 19 individuals who have been injured and for Heather Heyer who lost her life in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions has called an act of domestic terrorism. And we pray for all first responders and law-enforcement officials who worked to bring order and stability to the situation remembering especially Virginia State Police, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates who died when their helicopter crashed en route to the scene.
We invite you to join us in prayer and action to decry the violence and racism that infect our own hearts, our local communities, and our nation. Let us pray together the collect, For our Country, found on page 820 in the Book of Common Prayer that says in part: "Save us from violence, discord and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues ..." Let us indeed join together in solidarity and humbleness of heart to pray and work for unity, wholeness, and reconciliation in Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan