We Cannot Be Silent

Statement from the Bishops
of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut
Thursday, May 28, 2020
God, who can turn our worries into wings of joys and our sorrows into songs of thanks, let not our hearts be so troubled by the tragedies of this life‘s moment that we lose sight of the eternal life in your kingdom. Give comfort and solace to our companions who suffer almost unbearable losses every second, minute, and hour in our nation and world. Strengthen our resolve to replace hatred with love, tension with trust, and selfishness with caring and community. Heal, O God, all our children so that those who hate and those who are hated, those who hurt and those who are hurt, may grow up in an America and in a world of peace, opportunity, and justice. Amen.
Marian Wright Edelman, Guide My Feet, Prayers and Meditations for Our Children,
p. 142 (modified)
Dear Companions in Christ,
As we continue to live into all of the challenges that the global COVID-19 pandemic has added to our lives, we find our emotions are heightened and our resilience is being tested. The Church Pension Fund in their presentation on The Emotional Life-Cycle of a Disaster highlights that we are in the stage when feelings of sadness, grief, despair, and disillusionment consume our lives. In this difficult time, we are also witnessing that those who are marginalized and oppressed in our society are being further pushed to the margins as social, economic, political, and racial divisions become exacerbated.
Racism and the resulting violence against people of color perpetrated by those who have power in our nation and state has led recently to the tragic and inexcusable deaths of George Floyd in Minnesota, Jose Soto in Connecticut, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Such violence is unacceptable and contrary to the will of God and the promise of justice and freedom central to our country’s ideals. We must not let the realities of COVID-19 distract us from speaking out against, and working to dismantle, the forces of racism and white supremacy that continue to infect our lives and our nation. It is that very inaction and silence that feed into the legacy of white supremacy. Silence is complicity and we must not participate in the forces of evil that divide us.
The Episcopal Church in Connecticut is committed to the work of Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation. For us to be the Beloved Community in Jesus that we are committed to becoming, we must act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). To be the Beloved Community, we must believe and act in a way that recognizes that every person is created in the image of God. It also means that we will speak out when we see the dignity of another person being disrespected. And it means that we will do our personal work to address our own places of both privilege and prejudice. ECCT is in the beginning stages of planning an offering related to this work and will have more information to share in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, we encourage you to explore important opportunities for us to become the Beloved Community God calls us to be in our neighborhoods and our nation, such as those provided by the Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut. As we live into this time of heightened emotions, we invite you to pray and reflect on who God is calling us to be and then recommit to dismantling the racism manifested in our midst.
The injustice against people of color we have seen in recent weeks is not tolerable. It is contrary to the will of God and our Christian witness. We must speak up. We must work for change. And we must repent for the ways we are complicit in the ongoing violence in our society. We do this work together. We do this work for God. And we do this work so that all God’s people may know safety, hope, and love.
In Christ,
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens Bishop Diocesan Bishop Suffragan