July 8, 2020
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
We are living in extraordinary days.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, another more enduring and tenacious pandemic arose in our consciousness in a way unseen in many decades. The murder of George Floyd shone a bright light on the continuing scourge of racism and the results of centuries of oppression in our country.
This week your Vestry entered into a deep conversation about our response as a community in this deeply challenging and critical moment in history. The Black Lives Matter movement has caused many of us to begin reflecting on the ways that our own actions, as well as the political and economic systems in which we live our lives, have inhibited us from fulfilling our baptismal promises to “respect the dignity of every human being” and “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbor as our self.”
We must honestly say that we are not all of the exact same mind on how best to respond to this moment. But we recognize that we are called to do more and we need to start now. To that end, we have decided to make a public commitment to educate ourselves and to take action.
First, we will be expressing our solidarity with those seeking racial justice with a banner proclaiming that we are: UNITED AGAINST RACISM. Second, we intend to undertake the hard work of self-evaluation around these issues, offering opportunities for our community to learn and to think deeply about our attitudes and habits around systemic racism and bear witness to the unjust suffering of black and African-American people in our country's history and the present. Third, we will explore concrete actions we can take to better support our marginalized brothers and sisters.
By staying grounded in our love for each other we can create a place where hard truths can be explored and transformation of heart and mind are possible. And, we can find ways to take sustained action to help our larger community reflect God’s love and justice.
We invite you to be a part of this process as we seek to embody God’s dream for the world, to be transformed in Jesus’ love, and to use our gifts to make a real difference in our community.
Thomas Skillings, Rector, and
St. Paul’s Vestry