Our Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We write to express our love and support of the Right Reverend Mariann Budde, Bishop of Washington, and the Most Reverend Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop, in their outrage at the President’s use of Saint John’s Lafayette Square, a landmark Episcopal Church in Washington, as a background prop, having just cleared an entirely peaceful demonstration with mounted police, as he called for the deployment of the military to end the protests in cities across our country. The sanctuaries of the Episcopal Church are dedicated and consecrated to the service and worship of God, and to house the altar of the Holy Eucharist and the pulpit of Gospel proclamation and the font of Holy Baptism, as well as the gathering center for the faith community. They are places where only love may reign, only peace be sought, and only justice be desired. We are confident that the leaders of our church in Washington would have been happy to meet the President at Saint John’s and pray with him for our country, for the lost, for the grieving, for the long-suffering, and for all those who never weary of striving for the birth of the Beloved Community, had he asked. We are confident that they would have been happy to tell the president that he is prayed for in all of our churches every Sunday, as we ask God to grace him with wisdom, courage, and humility for his high calling. We are, though, unprepared for our sacred sites to be appropriated to other and political purposes, just as we were unprepared for a speech so filled with recrimination, so punishing, and so uncomprehending of the depth of the pain and suffering across the country he was elected to lead. We are grateful for the leadership of our sister Mariann in Washington, and grieve the burdens which these times are requiring of us all – burdens of Christian love and ministry and proclamation under adversity – which we in New York know only too well, and share with the bishop and clergy and people of Washington and all across our church.
Bishop of New York