July 12, 2017

Bishop Responds To Noose Found in Center City

For Such a Time as This logo

“We repudiate racism as a sin that demands eradication,” Bishop Claire Burkat writes in a statement in response to the discovery of two nooses in Center City in recent weeks.

“A church that proclaims Christ crucified must recognize the crucifixions and unspeakable torture, derision and humiliation” that has faced Black Americans during and after slavery “and continues today in everyday ways that only people of color can truly understand,” the bishop said.

Read on for the complete message.

 

Bishop: Acts of Racial Terror Demand Reconciliation

Dear Partners in the Gospel,

Bishop Burkat

Bishop Burkat

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the many ways hate and hostility are poisoning our communities and our relationships. Our trust and respect for one another, damaged by racism, has been made even more toxic by social media and the 24-hour news cycle. This disrespect sometimes spills over into real life actions.

Recently, two nooses were discovered right here in Philadelphia. One was placed on the chair of an employee at the U.S. Mint two weeks ago, and just a few days ago a noose was draped over a tree in front of Graduate Hospital in Center City. Since May, four have been found hanging in our nation’s capital.

The noose, the horrific symbol of lynching, murderous intent and racial terror targeting African Americans, signifies racial terror and the dreadful plague of contagious hostility that is infecting our society.

...send us to share their crying.

Download this graphic and share on social media.

A church that proclaims Christ crucified must recognize the crucifixions and unspeakable torture, derision and humiliation — large and small — that stalked the Black community during 250 years of slavery, followed by 60 years of lynching Black people after Emancipation, and continues today in everyday ways that only people of color can truly understand.

We repudiate racism as a sin that demands eradication. We proclaim Christ crucified and resurrected. This means that Christ will help us stand together against evil, find courage to fight hatred, to make necessary sacrifices to love and protect our neighbors and our own families of color. For our sake Christ was unjustly, cruelly, and publicly hung from a tree. He will help us take up our cross, and strengthen us to be willing to endure the pain necessary to promote racial reconciliation and to relentlessly fight racism and hate speech and behavior.

Paul reminded the Corinthians that because of Christ, “Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.”

And let there be no doubt. There is a process of resurrection happening through reconciling work.

Please join me in prayer and purpose with the words of the song “Now is the Time,” written by Paul Friesen-Carper and commissioned for our 2017 Synod Assembly:

Christ whose reconciling work
was suffering and dying,
when your people hurt and bleed
send us to share their crying.

When we find your people cursed and
crushed beneath our living,
change our thoughts and actions first,
then help us seek forgiving.

When injustice crucifies, and
bias chokes our breathing,
brand our lips to prophesy
and hold us in our grieving.

Give us faith to trust the righteousness you give;
to feel our shame and fear, and yet build a church where all will live.
Trusting in your presence, awaiting your surprise,
now is the time for your people to arise.

Christ whose reconciling work
was suffering and dying,
in your new life we are freed
to keep on unifying!

In Christ,

+ The Rev. Claire S. Burkat, bishop