Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing to you from South Carolina where I have been taking time off at the beach with my family. Late yesterday afternoon I learned shocking news of the terrible events that have taken place back home in our Commonwealth. The town of Thomas Jefferson, the town distinguished by one of the finest universities in our country, has, in the last 24 hours, been a place of unspeakable hate and violence. I am appalled by the manner in which the "white nationalists" and "alt- right" have trampled and abused the liberties of free speech and assembly. I am outraged by their attempts to spread a distorted and destructive message of white superiority and privilege. And I am deeply sadden by the death and woundings that have resulted from such evil.
I respectfully ask that all Episcopalians in the Diocese of Southern Virginia commit to prayer and hold up to God all those involved. I also ask you to pray for the people of the city of Charlottesville and the churches and clergy in the Diocese of Virginia whose lives are being directly impacted by this tragedy.
While it will take some time for us to digest the meaning of what has happened, these events remind us that the principalities and powers of evil are much closer to home than we sometimes - naively - want to believe. It's now time to stand together against hate with all our brothers and sisters and proclaim the power of God.