In the wake of the shootings that took place in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday March 15, Bishop Alan M. Gates and dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, Amy E. McCreath, issued statements to the Muslim prayer group that gathers in the cathedral to worship each Friday.
Statement from Bishop Alan M. Gates:
I extend my greeting and prayers to your gathering today, as we all grieve the devastating attacks and loss of life in New Zealand.
Bishops of the Episcopal Church are gathered this week in North Carolina, where this morning we all joined in solidarity of grief, united with the faithful of every language, peoples, and creed, in condemnation of the hatred and violence that infects the soul of our world.
Our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry, quoted the spiritual hymn of his ancestors in slavery, who sang, “Walk together children, and don’t you get weary.”
May we join our own voices, prayers, and actions, not wearying, but standing against every manifestation of bigotry, hatred and violence.
During Friday's Eucharist at the House of Bishops gathering, all gathered prayed for victims of the shooting: "For the victims of the shootings in New Zealand, rest to their souls and peace to their families." Full story by Episcopal News Service available here.
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry also hosted the Bishop's United Against Gun Violence live prayer service streamed on Facebook from the House of Bishops Gathering. Video is available here.
Statement from Cathedral Dean Amy E. McCreath:
Our hearts are broken by the cruelty and the prejudice that led to this awful day. I mourn the taking of innocent lives, the destruction of the fabric of families, of communities, and the pain afflicted to so many, and the attempt to intimidate Muslims around the world.
I stand--and our whole cathedral and diocesan community stand--with you today, as sisters and brothers affirming the dignity of all people, the holiness and freedom of those who follow Islam to worship, and to live, and to thrive, and to offer their beautiful contribution to the building of salaam--we need this salaam so much.
I mourn the advent of leadership in our nation and elsewhere that would cast doubt on the goodness of your tradition and reinforce negative stereotypes. I deplore the violent language that is heard in high places that makes those whose hearts have been infected by hate feel freer to act, that sends a spirit of judgmentalism and fear into the world like a storm cloud.
In the Christian tradition, we are in the season of Lent. This is a season of repentance and discipline when we are called to turn back to our creator, turn back to the calling to love our neighbor, turn back to our commitment to right relationship with one another and our holy one. Humanity has such a need for this repentance and for the healing of hearts so that we can build a world in which everyone is able to thrive, to learn and grow, to be safe in their homes and their places of worship, and to grow into the fullness of who we are created to be.
Know that we mourn with you today, we stand with you and are grounded in our hope for spiritual renewal for this world, we want to work together with you, and we pray for you.