A pastoral message from the rector

Speak out for those who cannot speak,
for the rights of all the destitute.
Speak out, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy. –
Proverbs 31:8-9

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

As I mentioned during my welcoming remarks during last Sunday’s service, this is an extremely devastating time for our nation. We are dealing with the incredible loss of life and a way of life caused by the pandemic, having surpassed the 100,000 mark of those who have died. The suffering weighs heavily on our souls and on our minds, causing many of us to be discouraged and depressed as this pandemic continues.

On top of this heartbreak, we are reeling with the news of the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer, once again revealing the evils of racism and violence that infect our society. We are a country in crisis. As people of God we cannot remain passive nor silent as violent protests and peaceful marches proliferate across our nation. Jesus teaches us to love one another without exception. Our celebration of Pentecost, the birth of the Church, this past Sunday reassures us that the Holy Spirit gives us the courage, the resolve and strength we need to be a collective voice that speaks truth in love. This is who we are as the Living Body of Christ. “We are called to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” (Book of Common Prayer, 294). This vow is part of our baptismal covenant and defines our vocation as Christians, especially during such a critical time that we are living in now.

Many are asking what can we do when our country seems to be pulling apart at the seams. Here are three things we can do right now:

  • Pray for the victims, their families, our communities, our leaders and our country. The Book of Common Prayer (available online at https://www.bcponline.org/) is a rich resource for prayers. At St. John’s we offer weekly online prayer services: Noonday prayer every weekday and Compline on Tuesday and Thursday at 9 p.m.
  • Stay informed and connected to what others are doing in our community and our churches. There are many resources available through the Episcopal News Service https://www.episcopalnewsservice.org/ and the Episcopal Church in Connecticut’s website https://www.episcopalct.org/season-of-racial-healing-justice-and-reconciliation/.
  • Join us and become involved with and support our Racial Healing, Justice and Reconciliation Committee at St. John’s. This is part of the diocesan-wide effort to address the issues of racial divide and the resulting injustices through education and a variety of events.
  • Join with other Connecticut Episcopalians for a time of online reflection and prayer, this Thursday, June 4 at 3 p.m. This event is in collaboration with the Racial Healing, Justice, and Reconciliation Ministry Network of the Episcopal Church in CT. Please register here.

Remember that we are a people of hope. With the outpouring of the Holy Spirit we are given the strength and courage we need to work together in love “to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Faithfully,

Susan+

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