Choose Love

by | Aug 9, 2018

Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred let us so love. . .
Prayer attributed to St. Francis

As the one year anniversary of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, approaches, tensions are mounting in Washington D.C. and Virginia. Last year’s rally exposed the racial hatred, Nazi admiration, and glorification of violence at the core of white supremacist groups. Those same groups plan to rally in front of the White House on Sunday after they were denied a permit to return to Charlottesville.

We are right to be dismayed and alarmed at such a gathering here. Or anywhere.

Many counter demonstrations are also being planned throughout the city. As your bishop, I ask that you pray, wherever you are, for the power of love to overcome hatred. Pray and speak out in faithfulness to our non-violent Lord and in the name of our loving, liberating, and life-giving God.

Should you feel called to be physically present in your witness, please consider two prayerful gatherings for which we, as a diocese, are co-sponsors.

On Friday, August 10, Washington Hebrew Congregation (map) will host a teach-in followed by a special Shabbat Service.

From 3:00 – 5:45 p.m: A teach-In on White Supremacy, Racism, Anti-Semitism, and the Neo-Nazi Movement and a congressional town hall meeting. Organized by D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin, this informative session will feature leading experts in the from the Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Anti-Defamation League. The event will also feature a special presentation by the Reverend William Barber. This event is free. Register here

At 6:00 p.m. – Shabbat of Peace – A special Interfaith Shabbat service, open to all members of the community. Together we will embrace the unity of the human family and ask for prayers of peace. This service will conclude with a special candlelight vigil to honor and remember the lives lost in Charlottesville during the rallies and protests one year ago. Please visit Washington Hebrew Congregation’s website for more information and to RSVP for the service.

On Sunday, August 12, 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.: United to Love: Standing Together in Love and Resisting Hate: an ecumencial, interfaith rally on the National Mall

The Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church invites all persons of faith and goodwill to gather on the National Mall (4th Street NW) in public witness for peace, justice, and tolerance. Worship and music will be offered from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., followed by the rally and speakers from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Our Canon Missioner, the Rev. Leonard Hamlin, from Washington National Cathedral, will be addressing the rally on behalf of the Diocese of Washington and the Rev. Charles Allen Wynder, Jr. Staff Officer for Social Justice and Advocacy Engagement will be speaking on behalf of the wider Episcopal Church. For more information and to register

The Diocese of Washington will be well-represented at both gatherings, a testimony to the love, courage, and conviction that God has placed in our hearts. But wherever we find ourselves this weekend and beyond, may we be instruments of God’s peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love.