Monday, June 13, 2016


Dear Friends,

“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.”  Matthew 3:18

49 innocents shot dead, targeted because of their sexuality; 53 shot and wounded; one shooter dead after a hateful rampage of terror.

We should pray for those who have died, and have compassion on those who are grieving, injured, traumatized, and frightened in the wake of this violence. But if we only pray, and take no action, we are not following the way of Jesus. Repeatedly in the gospels, Jesus “has compassion” on someone who is suffering. Every time he has compassion, he acts to alleviate that suffering. 

We have taken some small actions at Epiphany today. The pride flag is now flying over Epiphany’s door.  Hatred of and violence against GLBT persons has no place in the church or our world. The Episcopal Church welcomes all people.  But as yesterday’s shooting makes clear, there is so much work to be done in seeking justice and equality for the GLBT community, and in changing hearts from ignorance and hatred to love and respect. If you have never been to the Pride parade in NYC, perhaps this year you can take action by joining us in passing out water to the marches, or find a spot with the Episcopal Church’s float, and add your witness to the message that Jesus loves and honors all loving relationships.

I have also added a “Blessed Ramadan” sign to our outdoor sign.  Muslims are not just our geographic neighbors at Epiphany; they are students at our Day School and employees of our parish. One staff member told me this morning that she had goosebumps because she felt so loved and welcomed here. They are members of the Epiphany family.  And they are routinely being demonized as a group for the actions of a few, and are also vulnerable to hatred and violence. We are called by our baptismal covenant to “Respect the dignity of every human being,” and our well wishes to our neighbors are part of that respect.

There are other actions to be taken in the days ahead, and I invite you to speak with me and other parish leaders about what those actions should be.

In my high school youth group, one of our favorite songs was “Lord of the Dance,” which includes the following lyrics, apropos for a tragedy in a dance club:

I danced on a Friday when the world turned black,
It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
They buried my body; they thought I was gone
But I am the dance, and the dance goes on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be
I am the lord of the dance said he
And I lead you all wherever you may be
And I lead you all in the dance said he

I give thanks for Jesus, who leads us in this dance of life, and am grateful for all who continue to dance in the face of sorrow and grief.

In Peace,

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