Beloveds, this past week unfolded with excruciating events across our country and in our state.
I know you are brought to the depths of your soul in prayer for God to lead us—lead us individually, as a community of faith and as a nation, even into those places where painful questions and answers wait our acknowledgement and our response.
As Robert Hall said to me yesterday, “gathering for worship is perhaps the most radical thing we can do in this moment.” And gather we will.
As you continue praying this weekend, please allow the following message from our Bishops to come alongside your own heartfelt words.
Your sister in Christ,
Brothers and Sisters of the Rio Texas Annual Conference, Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We woke yesterday to news of more senseless violence and death. Words fail to express the shock and grief felt this week across our state and nation.
Our response is to ask you to join us in prayer. Prayer is not the end of our response to violence and injustice; it is only the beginning. However, it is an essential beginning. We ask you to pray specifically for the families of all the victims, in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas. Join us in prayer for the healing and comfort only God can bring. While debates will continue as to the meaning and circumstances of these violent acts, our first response as Christians is to recognize the very real pain of human loss.
We also ask you to join us in prayer for police officers and first-responders throughout our nation who risk their lives in the cause of our safety and who especially feel the loss of their brothers in arms. We can simultaneously ask questions about police conduct while showing grace, compassion and respect for those who work to keep us safe.
“Prayer is not the end of our response to violence and injustice; it is only the beginning. However, it is an essential beginning.”
We ask you to join us in prayer, as well, for the Black Lives Matter Movement. As Christians, we, of course, value all human life. However, we also understand that the Gospel calls us to give special attention to anyone who is especially burdened, oppressed or made to feel as though their life matters less. Whether or not we agree with every aspect of the movement, we pray that God would give us ears to hear and hearts to feel the very real pain behind the protests.
We ask you to join us in prayer to remember that we are followers of the Prince of Peace, that violence is not our way and that we are called resist violence and work for justice, peace, and reconciliation in all circumstances.
We ask you, most of all, to join us in asking God that we might all pray in a manner that commits us once again to the advancing kingdom of God, to justice and righteousness for all people. We seek God’s help that our response would not end with prayer, but that prayer would empower us to respond in a way that reflects the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie
Bishop Joel Martinez
Bishop Robert Schnase
Bishop Mike Lowry