St. John’s Family,
On Friday, June 24, The United States Supreme Court released its decision to overturn Roe v. Wade. Although this decision does not come as a surprise to many of us it does evoke many emotions and concerns. As I write to you today I have to admit that words are not coming easily. This decision has me angry, hurt, and disheartened. Since 1967, The Episcopal Church has maintained its “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them.” No matter whether you consider yourself “pro-life” or “pro-choice” the effect of this decision could trickle down to even the basic of human rights of women. In our society today there is a pervasive view that we all must think, act and believe a certain way. If you do not then you are somehow harming others and must be corrected. As you may know Episcopal theology allows for a lot of wiggle room in what each person believes. We are often referred to as the “via media” the middle way. We encourage the asking of questions and the development of a deep and thoughtful faith. We are on the precipice of something here in the United States. The future is unknown. Our hope is our God. Our response is that of love for our fellow human beings. I encourage you to remember your Baptismal Covenant:
Will you persevere in resisting evil, and, whenever you fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord? Will you proclaim by word and example the Good News of God in Christ? Will you seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself? Will you strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being? With every answer being “I will, with God’s help.”
It is only with God’s help that we will move forward to a hopeful future. Remember that the easiest way to show a person the loving way of Christ is to be in relationship with them. Reach out to those around you and remind them that you are there for them. With the realization that there are many emotions around this decision St. John’s will be hosting a Service for Lament and Healing. My hope is that it will be something that all in the community will feel welcome attending. I am reaching out to the downtown churches in an effort to invite them and have them join us in this service. Please watch your email for more information regarding this service. As we move forward I offer this collect from our Book of Common Prayer for times of conflict. May it be something we pray daily as we hope to see civil liberties and human rights to restored ALL people.
O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help, us in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together will mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In God’s Ever Present Love, Mother Kelsey