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  Letter to clergy re race-police violence in US ... pdf version

23 September 2016

Dear friends,

I'm writing you this pastoral letter with a heavy heart. You have likely been watching, as I have, the growing unrest and outright violence in the US related to African-Americans and law enforcement. Most recently Tulsa, Oklahoma & Charlotte, North Carolina have been in the news.

Archbishop Foley Beach wrote me last night saying:

"…the events in Tulsa and Charlotte continue to foster and deepen fear, mistrust, anxiety, and a simmering frustration in our cities here in the States.  African-Americans are becoming more and more fearful of the police in their communities and the violence of the protestors; and the police are becoming more and more fearful of getting arrested for doing their jobs. (The media coverage has not helped calm things down)."

He then asks us in ANiC to join him, and all clergy in the ACNA, in responding both by prayer and with action. Specifically, he asks all of us to "reach out to the African-Americans and the police" in our communities, letting them know that we care about their concerns and fears, and asking them how we can pray for them.  He adds, "We need to be proactive in reaching out to both communities in the Name of Jesus, manifesting His reconciling love and compassion."

So, this is my request of you.
1. Pray for God's peace to reign, for repentance and for reconciliation.
2. Localize and act – In New England, our Primate's request is straightforward. In Canada, we have similar issues with Canadians of various visible minorities, including our black community, experiencing discrimination in society and perhaps by the justice system. Prayerfully consider who in your community faces discrimination and how you can come alongside them. And, as our Primate requests, find ways to support, encourage and bless our police forces.

Finally, to guide our prayers for the US, this is what Archbishop Beach posted on Facebook:

Dear Friends in Christ, I am writing to ask you to join me in prayer for the communities of Tulsa, OK, and Charlotte, NC; 
for those who have lost loved ones; 
for those who grieve; 
for those falsely accused; 
for those who have acted wrong; 
for those who fired the shots; 
for those living in fear; 
for those expressing their anger;
for those threatened with injustice; 
for police officers; 
for community leaders; and 
for the Christians in these communities.
May the peace of Jesus Christ rule in every heart, and may the grace of God prevail in every precious life. Only in Christ can we have true peace with one another.

Friends, this is challenging. With God's help we can begin to influence our communities for good, extending His grace, mercy and peace.

Take courage and go with God.


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