Statement from the Province III bishops of The Episcopal Church

Posted Jun 4, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ,

It has now been over a week since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis.

We have seen this before. And, as leaders in a predominantly white denomination, our responses are all too familiar.

We write letters and make public statements. We hold vigils and pray for reform. We urge our clergy and people to become better educated concerning the realities of institutional racism and implicit bias. We reach out to black community leaders and express our sorrow and our solidarity.

Then, gradually, we get busy with other things, until the next murder, the next video, the next spasm of racial violence, when we repeat the cycle.

And nothing changes.

We are heartbroken and angered by this pattern, by our complicity in it, above all by the thought that we might let this moment pass us by without responding with vigor, zeal and persistence to its challenge.

We are determined, with God’s help, not to let this happen again. And yet, we need the participation of our communities in Christ to join in the movement of transforming our society with its sinful way of oppression, into Jesus’ loving, liberating and life-giving Way of Love. Our baptismal promises compel us to act.

As bishops of Province III of the Episcopal Church, we resolve:

To seek, first, the guidance and wisdom of people of color as we look for ways to dismantle racism in our dioceses.

To formulate a plan, each in our context, to build relationships with leaders in the black community offering our support, committing to partnership, and working together to address racial injustice in our localities.

To offer ongoing support to leaders in communities of color, local politicians and local law enforcement, in building a healthy culture in our police departments, ensuring safety for all our citizens and fostering trust between police and people in all our neighborhoods.

To name the reality of systemic racism in our own dioceses and local contexts, and to recognize and address the white privilege embedded in our Episcopal Church culture.

To be fervent in prayer for the coming of the day when all of God’s children are free.

In all of this, we pledge ourselves to the work of overcoming the sin of racism. We ask for the prayers of our fellow bishops, and of all the people of God, that this resolve may remain strong for as long as it takes to bear fruit.  May God help us all.

Faithfully in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Mark Bourlakas
Diocese of Southwestern Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde
Diocese of Washington

The Rt. Rev. W. Michie Klusmeyer
Diocese of West Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
Assistant Bishop
Diocese of Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knusden
Assisting Bishop
Diocese of Washington

The Rt. Rev. Kevin S. Brown
Diocese of Delaware

The Rt. Rev. Santosh K. Marray
Diocese of Easton

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
Bishop Suffragan & Ecclesiastical Authority
Diocese of Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Dorsey W. M. McConnell
Diocese of Pittsburgh

The Rt. Rev. Daniel G.P. Gutiérrez
Diocese of Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Kevin Nichols
Diocese of Bethlehem

The Rt. Rev. Susan B. Haynes
Diocese of Southern Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Sean Rowe
Diocese of Northwest Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Audrey C. Scanlan
Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Ilhoff
Assisting Bishop
Diocese of Maryland

The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton
Diocese of Maryland