FR. DAVID’S BLOG OF 06/05/2020 — Last Saturday night, downtown Wilmington erupted in chaos. Earlier in the day at Rodney Square, a peaceful demonstration was held to decry the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day. Mr. Floyd died as a result of being pinned to the ground while handcuffed by a Minneapolis police officer for over nine minutes. The national outrage was swift as cities all over the country mobilized and began peaceful marches and protests demanding justice for the death of Mr. Floyd.
As a result of the events of Saturday evening I decided to go to church on Sunday morning to say Morning Prayer from the sanctuary. It was a holy time.
What happened next was quite simply disgusting. The President and others from his administration left the White House and walked to the church along the same route where minutes before protesters were peaceably assembled. The clergy of St. John’s and other denominations were outside giving relief and support to the protesters. They were not spared as they were pushed away in the chaos. All of this occurred so the President could stand outside a church with a Bible in hand. No prayer, no statement of solidarity and no words of compassion for George Floyd and others who have died as a result of police brutality. It was shocking and it was widely condemned by Episcopal Church leaders as well as other denominations.
The Church and the Bible are not to be used to appeal to anyone’s political base. At this time when the churches around the country have struggled to stay connected with their members and to learn to worship remotely during COVID-19 this cynical act did nothing to calm the feelings of so many who are hurting in this country. The Church is to be a sanctuary and the scriptures tell the story of our faith. Neither is a prop for any agenda.
Early this week I reached out to Canon Casson and Rabbi Douglas Krantz to begin a conversation as to how we might talk about racism in the midst of a pandemic. In the next couple of weeks, the congregation will be invited to join Canon Casson, Rabbi Krantz and me for a conversation. More details will be forthcoming in the next week. Continue to keep one another in prayer as well as this community and the country.
Prayer for People Critically Ill or Facing Great Uncertainty
God of the present moment,
God who in Jesus stills the storm
and soothes the frantic heart;
bring hope and courage to all
who wait or work in uncertainty.
Bring hope that you will make them the equal
of whatever lies ahead.
Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided,
for your will is health and wholeness;
you are God, and we need you.
-Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765