[Episcopal Diocese of Chicago]
August 14, 2017
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ:
In April, the Diocese of Chicago hosted a Bishops United Against Gun Violence conference about the unholy trinity of racism, poverty and violence. This weekend in Charlottesville, as white supremacists rioted and terrorized people of goodwill, we saw yet again the wages of these sins and the destruction that they wreak in families, communities, and in our country.
Whenever we witness this kind of horrific violence, Christians are called to pray and act. Pray for Heather Heyer, who was killed in Charlottesville while she was demonstrating against hatred, and for the state troopers who died when their helicopter crashed. Pray for an end to racism and white supremacy, and pray for the fortitude to continue working for justice and peace through dark days like these.
On Saturday, September 30 from 9 am until noon, we have an opportunity to put our prayers into action when the Rev. Julian DeShazier, senior pastor of University Church, Chicago, visits St. James Commons for a discussion in which he will expand on his remarks at our April conference and help us chart a course for our diocese’s continued work against systemic racism and its interlocking oppressions. You can find out more about Julian’s visit and register on our website.
Educating ourselves for the work of dismantling systemic racism is a lifelong job, and in these times, wise people are writing words we need to read. I invite you to study this piercing theological essay by the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, who also spoke at our April conference. And if you haven’t yet had a chance to see the reflection written by our sister Bishop Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, I commend it to you.
Standing against white supremacy is a gospel imperative, and I am grateful for all of you across our diocese who are answering God’s call in these difficult times.
The Rt. Rev. Jeffrey D. Lee
Bishop of Chicago