[Episcopal Diocese of Central Pennsylvania] Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
The events that unfolded on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia resulting in the death of one person and the injuries of dozens of others have put a spotlight on the deeply disturbing, profound dysfunction in our country that is personal, systemic and institutional racism. The brutal violence in Virginia that led to declaring a state of emergency and the involvement of the police and National Guard is intolerable and sinful.
On Saturday afternoon we looked to television and computer screens to inform us of the developing tragedy in the South. To do so without reflecting on the same behavior and attitudes in our own towns here in Central Pennsylvania would be shortsighted. As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers. We vow to embrace the dignity of every human being. We are called to a ministry of reconciliation in the name of Jesus. And this work is vital in our own neighborhoods and our own hearts.
I hope that you will keep the people of Charlottesville in your prayers and ask for God to comfort those who were involved in the violence this weekend. Pray for the dead and injured and their families, pray for those who witnessed the viciousness, pray in thanksgiving for those who came to control the chaos, and pray for the perpetrators. And then, commit to work in your own sphere of influence for change. Educate yourself about the sin of racism. Discover the resources that our diocese has for leading change. Open your heart to understanding that change must be broad and deep – even for those who believe themselves already redeemed- for the sake of a just and whole society.
God dreams of our complete restoration, and our final consummation as One – One in Christ, One with each other, One in peace. Together, we will strive for this wholeness and freedom.