Dear Brothers and Sisters,
What a joy it is to return to you after a restful vacation! Bill and I had a lovely time with all our kids and grandkids in Maine for a week, in addition to seeing old friends. Then I spent two weeks getting Duncan and Emma ready for school and settling them into their dorms. Everyone is well and it was great spending time with family.
But during those three weeks two major events exploded onto our national scene. Both Charlottesville and Harvey were each extraordinary in their own way.
As a proud graduate of the University of Virginia, when I first saw the video of white supremacists marching across the university, carrying torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us,” it was like a physical punch to the gut. I wept. How could my precious university be defiled with those awful sentiments? Not that you don’t already know this, but to be clear: racism and anti-Semitism are sins. They are an affront to God’s good creation. As Christians, we are to stand against them, defend and support those who are victims, and seek healing and reconciliation for the perpetrators.
Then this past week we all watched in horror as Hurricane Harvey dumped more rain than anyone could possibly imagine onto Texas and beyond. The loss of life and homes, the fear and suffering, is moving our hearts and inspiring our prayers. But in the midst of this tragedy is all sorts of goodness as well: grace and compassion that flies in the face of the Charlottesville event. Thousands of people from the area and from elsewhere are stepping forward to help with search and rescue, offer medical care, and serve those who are displaced – people of all races and religions are helping others of all races and religions. This shared tragedy is allowing unity and a recognition of our common humanity to prevail. As Jesus says, “love your neighbor as yourself.”
To support the victims of Hurricane Harvey you may donate to Episcopal Relief and Development (http://www.episcopalrelief.org/press-and-resources/press-releases/2017-press-releases/episcopal-relief-and-development-responds-to-hurricane-harvey#august31) as well as directly to the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Both are tax-deductible. Information about what the Diocese of Texas is doing and how to donate is here: http://www.epicenter.org/Harvey/. Yes, our world is filled with sin and suffering, but love conquers all and we choose to be part of the solution. Bless you all who pray and act to heal a hurting world.
You are very dear to me and to God in Christ,
A PRAYER FOR TEXAS
We offer this prayer from the Rt. Rev. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas:
Heavenly Father, in your Word you have given us a vision of that holy City where the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea: Behold and visit, we pray, the cities of the earth devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Sustain those displaced by the storm with food, drink, and all other bodily necessities of life. We especially remember before you all poor and neglected persons it would be easy for us to forget: the homeless and the destitute, the old and the sick, and all who have none to care for them; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, we may ever be defended by your gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.