Dear friends in Christ,
Yesterday, I stood with Bishop Gates, Canon Parnell, and about 300 clergy and lay leaders from the Boston area holding 8 minutes and 46 seconds of silence, in honor of the murdered Black man George Floyd, whose neck was pressed into the pavement by the knee of a police officer for that length of time. Those of us gathering in solidarity with the Black Ministerial Alliance in Roxbury yesterday afternoon were peaceful, as were the overwhelming majority of protesters marching to the State House and filling the Boston Common area last night.
As many of you saw on the news, later last night, some violence did occur very near our cathedral. Stores were looted in Downtown Crossing and a police cruiser was burned a few blocks up Tremont Street from us. Windows were smashed at neighboring restaurants MooYah and Lamberts, but not the Black Seed Cafe. Cafe Bonjour, which has been partnering with us to feed the MANNA community, had windows smashed and property loss. No damage was done to the cathedral property and none of our staff were on site during the protests.
But this morning, as the MANNA community regathered in our sanctuary and Sproat Hall, the psychic damage of having witnessed the violence in the spaces where they have been sleeping rough in a virtually-abandoned, locked-down area for two months, was clear. Please pray for all our MANNA staff as they attend to these wounds, for housed and unhoused residents in our neighborhood, and for all who, in the days ahead, will struggle to push back the understandable urge to lash out in the face of persistent injustice, white supremacist culture, and a president who inflicts more trauma with every tweet.
The vocation of cathedrals is to draw people together for the mission we share in Christ. In our diocese, part of that mission is building relationships. Another is engaging our world. We cannot gather physically at the cathedral right now. Rather than call us together in a virtual vigil, or issue yet another statement decrying racism, as Dean I invite us to build relationships and engage our world by uniting with one another, creatively and urgently. “Go to the cathedral” in ways like...
...planning joint zoom worship services that bring together parishes across racial and cultural differences.
...donating to the Massachusetts Council of Churches
One Church Fund
, which is providing support for immigrant, Black, poor, unhoused, and unaffiliated churches.
...using deanery assemblies to learn more about the particularity of systemic racism and its impact in your area and to discuss how to work together to address it.
….something else I could never have imagined but that the Spirit is revealing to
. Pray. Listen deeply. And respond.
May the Holy Spirit convict us of our sins, stir us to repentance and action, embolden us to speak truth to power, and unite us for Love’s sake.