Below is the Vestry's unanimous statement in response to the violence and murder perpetrated in Charlottesville. We ask your continued prayers for the victims and for those who grieve and morn, and for this nation that we take to heart and address the dangerous divisions threatening our democratic experiment.
21 August, 2017
We, the members of the Vestry of R. E. Lee Memorial Episcopal Church:
Deplore in the name of Christ white supremacy, anti-Semitism, and racism in all its forms. We denounce the violence committed in word and deed against our brothers and sisters in Charlottesville. We believe that all humans are of one stock, created by God, and that Christ breaks down all racial and social barriers. We are working for the day when all creation will rejoice together before Him.
Object strenuously to the misuse of Robert E. Lee's name and memory in connection with white supremacy, anti-Semitism and similar movements that he would abhor. Lee was widely admired in both the North and the South as a man of virtue and honor and as among the leading reconcilers of our fractured land. We do not honor Lee as a Confederate. Nor do we subscribe to neo-Confederate ideas in honoring him. We honor Lee as one of our own parishioners, a devout man who led our parish through difficult years in post-Civil-War Virginia. More importantly, we find our identity in Christ, the lover of all humankind, and we seek on-going renewal in Him.
Recognize that in the current political climate, Lee has become a touchstone for controversy and misunderstanding and a rallying symbol for hate groups. We acknowledge that the best hope for Lee is the Gospel of grace, through which we are all forgiven sinners. Our commitment is not to Lee, but to that gospel which is his hope and ours. We invite all to share in it, and we aim to let nothing stand in the way of our proclaiming it with integrity.