Suspended until further notice
Suspended until further notice
June 1 - A Message from our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry
June 1 - Message from our Bishops
Dear People of the Diocese of Massachusetts,
Yesterday afternoon we stood in Boston with other religious leaders as “Clergy United in Prayer, Protest, Peace, and Justice.” Sponsored by the Black Ministerial Alliance and the Massachusetts Council of Churches, the demonstration’s speakers called “for the swift prosecution of those perpetuating violence on black bodies and killing; for justice in our nation and in our neighborhoods, in…a pandemic that exposes the massive injustice of unequal access to basic physical and mental health care which communities of color have had to endure.”
The demonstration included prayer for the dead, and for the living, “for the broken-hearted and those losing hope.” In devastating wordlessness, we held silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds – the length of time it took to snuff out the life of George Floyd with a knee to his neck.
That afternoon protest was peaceful, as were several other large demonstrations throughout the day. When night fell, however, the protests turned violent, with significant destruction to property in the area surrounding our Cathedral Church of St. Paul.
We decry every manifestation of violence. This includes the destructive violence which followed peaceful protests in Boston this weekend. If we experience these events as extraordinary, however, we must recognize that acts of violence done to black and brown bodies are anything but. The recent, appalling deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery are but the latest in our nation’s 400-year history of violence against people of color, manifestations of our sin of racism and the culture of unexamined white supremacy. Until we understand and acknowledge all of these forms of violence as integrally connected, we can never hope to make our prayers for peace anything more than wishful thinking.
We commend to you Dean Amy McCreath’s letter earlier today [available here ] reporting effects of last night’s violence surrounding our cathedral, and reflecting upon ways to respond.
We commend to you also yesterday’s essay in The Washington Post [available here ] by our presiding bishop, the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, who issues this call:
“I see us channeling our holy rage into concrete, productive and powerful action …. Love looks like making the long-term commitment to racial healing, justice and truth-telling – knowing that, without intentional, ongoing intervention on the part of every person of good will, America will cling to its original, racist ways of being. … Now is the time for all of us to show – in our words, our actions, and our lives – what love really looks like.”
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris
June 1 - Message from New England's Episcopal Bishops
June 2, 2020
What President Trump did in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square on the evening of June 1 was disgraceful and morally repugnant. Displaying a Bible from which he did not quote, using as a mere backdrop an Episcopal church where he did not pray, and – more callously – ordering law enforcement to clear, with force and tear gas, a path through demonstrators who had gathered in peace, President Trump distorted for his own purposes the cherished symbols of our faith to condone and stoke yet more violence.
His tactic was obvious. Simply by holding aloft an unopened Bible he presumed to claim Christian endorsement and imply that of The Episcopal Church. Far more disturbingly, he seemed to be affecting the authority of the God and Savior we worship and serve, in order to support his own authority and to wield enhanced use of military force in a perverted attempt to restore peace to our nation.
His actions did nothing to mend the torn social fabric of our nation. Instead, they were a blatant attempt to drive a wedge between the people of this nation, and even between people of faith. No matter where we may stand on the partisan spectrum, we, as Christian leaders called to proclaim a God of love, find his actions repugnant. Jesus taught us to love our enemies, to seek healing over division, and make peace in the midst of violence.
Our church may rightly feel outraged and insulted by having the symbols of our faith used as a set prop in a cynical political drama. The real abomination before us, however, is the continued oppression of and violence against people of color in this nation. Let us reserve and focus the energies of our indignation to serve our Lord Jesus Christ’s higher purpose: to extend love and mercy and justice for all, and especially for those whose life, liberty, and very humanity is threatened by the persistent sin of systemic racism and the contagion of white supremacy.
The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens, Bishop Suffragan, Connecticut
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas, Bishop Diocesan, Connecticut
The Rt. Rev. Thomas James Brown, Bishop Diocesan, Maine
The Rt. Rev. Alan M. Gates, Bishop Diocesan, Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. Gayle E. Harris, Bishop Suffragan, Massachusetts
The Rt. Rev. A. Robert Hirschfeld, Bishop Diocesan, New Hampshire
The Rt. Rev. W. Nicholas Knisely, Bishop Diocesan, Rhode Island
The Rt. Rev. Shannon MacVean-Brown, Bishop Diocesan, Vermont
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher, Bishop Diocesan, Western Massachusetts
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