Bishops' Message Regarding Racial Violence


 “Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
    devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation,
    and your gates Praise.”  Isaiah 60:18

The vision of Isaiah is powerful and compelling. This week we were reminded yet again just how far we are from living into that vision. Violence erupted yet again at Sewanee when students hurled racial epithets against African American athletes. Devastation and destruction erupted in Atlanta when a lone gunman murdered eight people, six of them Asian American women. How many other times did violence erupt that was not reported in the national news?

In the wake of these newest eruptions of the violence of racial and gender-based injustice, we must stand up, stand together and say, in word and action, “Violence will no more be heard in our land.” Whether our roots lie in Africa or Europe, Asia or the Pacific Islands, South or North America, we are all children of God, therefore siblings in one family. And whatever harms one member of the family harms us all. 

We must also pray, especially for our Asian and Asian American siblings against whom hate crimes in US cities has risen 150% since the pandemic began. God give our family members comfort and hope in this time of fear. God strengthen us to claim our high calling to be instruments of God’s peace in this beautiful and broken world. 

Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Bishops of Virginia

The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff
The Rt. Rev. Jennifer Brooke-Davidson
The Rt. Rev. Porter Taylor