[Episcopal Diocese of Kansas] Diocese of Kansas Bishop Dean Wolfe wrote the following letter to his diocese in response to recent developments in Ferguson, Missouri.
Like many of you, I waited with some trepidation for the grand jury to announce its decision on whether or not to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, this past summer. As I’ve said previously, Ferguson is not so far from Kansas City or Topeka or Wichita, and the racial tensions ignited by this incident are present in our own diocese.
With the announcement of the grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer, tensions are running high, and even though the parents of Michael Brown have begged their community to be peaceful in responding to this decision, it appears some have used the situation as a rationale for damaging property and instigating further violence.
In the wake of these incidents, I invite the members of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas to pray for peace and justice in Ferguson and throughout our nation.
I ask you to pray for peace and justice for people of every race and economic condition.
I ask you to pray for the safety of everyone involved in this situation, including the members of the law enforcement community who risk their lives daily to ensure the safety of their fellow citizens.
I ask you to remember Michael Brown’s family who mourns the death of their son, and for Officer Darren Wilson and his family who have lost something precious and irreplaceable as well. No one ever gets over losing a son to violence, and no one ever gets over taking the life of another human being.
Every single day young men and women die in the streets of this great nation, and we must pray and work much, much harder to eliminate the conditions that contribute to this costly violence.
I am glad the people of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Ferguson, continue to be hard at work serving their community, and I pray their witness will continue to be a bold and faithful one. May the parishes of our diocese be equally committed to serving our communities in the name of Christ, and may we always remember the words of our Lord who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
The Right Reverend Dean E. Wolfe
The Episcopal Diocese of Kansas