Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The House of Bishops: "This carnage must stop"


I don't usually repost the communiques from our House of Bishops, but this one needs to be. The House of Bishops, at its Spring gathering, discussed the losses in our communities from violence, oppression and abuse. And they talked specifically about gun violence. There are other gatherings of bishops in the world right now getting more attention, like the one in Rome electing a Pope. But no topic should be higher in our concern and prayer. Here is the communique from the Episcopal House of Bishops, meeting in North Carolina the last few days:

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The Episcopal Church
Office of Public Affairs
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
[March 12, 2013] The Episcopal Church House of Bishops, meeting in retreat in Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, NC, offers the following Word to the Church.
A Word to the Church: 
Godly Leadership in the Face of Violence

O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen  (Collect for Tuesday in Holy Week.  Book of Common Prayer (BCP) p. 220)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
Your House of Bishops has gathered in retreat from March 8-12 at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC.  The theme for our days together has been “Godly Leadership in the Midst of Loss.”  We have heard moving reflections on loss in the wake of: the shootings in Newtown, Hurricane Sandy, the ongoing struggles in Haiti, historical trauma experienced by Native Americans in South Dakota, and physical illness.  Being together in conversation, prayer and common worship, we have shared the reality of new life in the resurrected Jesus who has overcome death and redeems our losses.
Our time together has brought us to a new place of recognition with respect to how violence infects, and affects, our lives.  We have considered how the reality of violence in our world, our society, our churches, our homes, and ourselves alienate us from God and each other.  And we repent that we have too often neglected to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation.  In this Lenten season we pray:  “Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty.”  (From the Litany of Penance for Ash Wednesday, BCP p. 268)
We particularly grieve those killed by senseless gun violence in the many contexts from which we come.  We lament and have cried over the widely reported mass shootings in this country, recalling tragedies like Aurora, Oak Creek and Newtown.  We are outraged by the too often unseen and unacknowledged daily massacre of our young people in cities such as Chicago, Newark, Baltimore, Port-au-Prince, and Tegucigalpa.  This carnage must stop.


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