Faith perspective – five dead after shooting in Capital Gazette building in Annapolis

By the Rev. Timothy Mulder, interim rector, St. Anne’s, Annapolis

This afternoon my phone began to buzz. “Are you OK?” Before I knew what had happened, I realized what had happened. Today, tragedy had not come to someone else’s town. Today murder came to ours.

I replied to my friends, “I’m OK,” but even in doing that I realized there would be other families tonight who will never be OK again.

The thing I’m beginning to realize is that any town is now our town, that other people are now our neighbors and family members and work colleagues. Someone asked tonight, “Where can we be safe if not here?”

So we are all feeling vulnerable, not just to the physical deadly violence, but to our psyches, to our souls, to our outlook on life.

I suppose it’s never really been different in any age. The issues have been different, but life is always fragile. Every morning when I wake up, the first thing I tell myself is that today is a gift.

I am in awe of those neighbors of ours: the police, the rescue squad, the fire company and so many others who are willing to put their lives on the line for the rest of us. Most of us individually are strangers to them, but collectively we are the community.

That’s one of the core values and messages of nights of pain and unnecessary violence like tonight. In an age of nobody seeming to care about anybody but themselves and their own, the essence of community is still a core value that transcends religions, political parties, ages, wealth groups. We need to care, with all our lives, not just for ourselves and our own, but for our whole community.

Jesus redefined the idea of neighbor. The system of his day wanted neighbors to be folk like us. Jesus turned it around and said that there is no one who is not our neighbor in the household of God. And if neighbor, then compelling of care, even at a personal cost.

I wonder what personal cost we, as a society, are willing to pay for the on-going ramifications of gun violence in our land? Then I have to take it down a level and wonder what cost we, as Christians, are willing to pay? What can we do? And then I need to bring it down to the personal, what about me in my own life, what can I do, what will I do, no matter the cost?

When the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meets in a week, a major topic will be gun violence. I have no delusions that we will solve the matter. But is it acceptable not to think, to talk together, to pray, to work in regard to something that is so regularly and increasingly stealing the lives of our neighbors, our family members, ourselves?
To say that our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims is true, while even in believing in the amazing power of prayer, it feels inadequate.

We cry out as the writers of the Psalms did, in lament. We ask, “How long, O Lord?” We are at a loss for words. No one wants this, but what to do?

I believe that what we can do is to stay together, as a town, as a community, as a church, as families, as friends, as colleagues. Talk about these things with each other. I said talk, not argue. Listen. Listen with care. Be humble. Be open to the Spirit.

The other day John Lewis, a member of Congress who marched with Martin Luther King, said that the struggle is not about just this hour, or this day or this season, but all of life. God calls us to be faithful day in and day out. God calls us to affirm life, our own and one another’s. God calls us to act for justice and fairness, realizing we may fail or fall at times.

To those of you hurting tonight, your pain is honored and shared. To those of you angry tonight, try to turn your anger into empathy and action. To those of you discouraged tonight, know that God will not let you or this creation go, and our prayer is still God’s kingdom will be on earth as in heaven. Even on nights like tonight…. May the peace of God, even in the midst of the storm, that passes all understanding, keep you, and all those who mourn, now and always.

In Christ,
Timothy Mulder
Interim Rector

On Friday, June 29, 7:00 PM, Annapolis houses of worship (Christian, Jewish and Muslim) will hold a prayer vigil at the Westfield Mall, Pottery Barn parking lot, across the street from the site of the shooting. All are welcome.

This Saturday, June 30, the 5:30 PM Eucharist at St. Anne’s, Annapolis, will be offered for the victims of this tragedy. All are welcome, no matter your faith, your politics; this is the house of God for prayer for all people. St. Anne’s is located at Church Circle in downtown Annapolis. Our clergy are available to talk with you on a private and personal level.

 

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and the African Republic of Maryland

By Mary Klein, diocesan archivist

On November 5, 1843, the Rt. Rev. William R. Whittingham confirmed nine people at St. James’ (First African) Church in Baltimore (now St. James’ Church, Lafayette Square). Always a meticulous record-keeper, the bishop noted in his book of confirmations “All late of Trinity Parish, Charles County, but about to sail for the Maryland Colony, Africa; being manumitted servants of the Rev. Henry B. Goodwin, by whom they have been prepared and are recommended for confirmation.” Read more

Prayer Service Set at Detention Center During General Convention

Posted by the House of Deputies of The Episcopal Church

Responding to calls from Episcopalians across the church to act on behalf of families seeking asylum at the southern U. S. border, a team of concerned leaders heading to General Convention has planned a prayer service outside the T. Don Hutto Residential Detention Center in Taylor, Texas, at about noon on Sunday, July 8.

The planning team, led by alternate Deputy Megan Castellan, rector of St. John’s Church in Ithaca, New York, is working with Grassroots Leadership—a local community organizing group in Texas that has held numerous gatherings at the Hutto Residential Center. Deputy Winnie Varghese, director of justice and reconciliation at Trinity Church Wall Street, is helping to arrange buses to the event. Read more

Announcement of Legislative Committee Officers

The Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, President of the House of Deputies, has announced legislative committee officers for the 79th General Convention. We are pleased to announce that a large portion of our deputation will be serving on committees. As mentioned in a previous post, both of our bishops are co-chairing committees. In addition, our deputies will serve on the following committees:

 

Committee 01 Rules of Order-The Rev. Canon Scott G. Slater
Committee 06 The Episcopal Church in Cuba– The Rev. Dina van Klaveren
Committee 07 Social Justice & International Policy-Mr. David G. Mallery
Committee 11 Evangelism & Church Planting-The Rev. Ramelle L. McCall
Committee 22 Dispatch of Business– Mr. Mark Garcia
Task Force on the Presiding Bishop-Ms. Alma Bell

Diocese of Maryland adopts important leadership roles at General Convention

We are pleased to announce that both of our bishops are co-chairing legislative committees at the 79th General Convention.

 

The Right Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton chairs committee 19 – on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, whose mandate is as follows: Receives and proposes Resolutions on relations between this Church and other Churches, this Church and other religions, interchurch cooperation and unity, and interreligious dialogue and action. Items to be addressed include resolution 2018-Ao12 – On the Importance of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relationships for the Stewardship of Creation.

 

The Right Rev. Chilton R. Knudsen chairs committee 16 – Churchwide Leadership, whose mandate is as follows: Receives and proposes Resolutions on relations between this Church and other Churches, this Church and other religions, interchurch cooperation and unity, and interreligious dialogue and action. Among the items this committee has taken up are the question of compensation for the president of the House of Deputies (2018-A028), the Task Force on the Episcopacy and the resolution from the report from the Commission on Impairment and Leadership.