calendar June 9, 2020 in anti-racism, Bishop, Bishop messages

Bishop’s Letter on Black Lives Matter Protests

Dear Beloved,

The question has been posed, “Is the bishop going to respond to the horrific death of Mr. George Floyd?”  “What is the bishop’s response to the protesting, the rioting and looting throughout the city of Philadelphia?”

I do have a response, and it is not unlike that of Rachel: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.”  (Jeremiah 31:15)  I cried. I thought about “the talk” with my two sons, and my daily concern for 6 brothers and 4 grandsons. I cried more. I had no words, frustrated by over 400 years of senseless killing of Black men and women due to systemic racism.  If I spoke, it would have been a reaction, leading to the false narrative of the “angry Black woman.” Even now I risk that every word I offer will be scrutinized and measured.

I have prayed through the pain, searched the scriptures for wisdom, and looked for words to help me to put pen to paper to send a clarion message in this time of pandemic and pandemonium unleashed by sequential deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor and Dreasjon (Sean) Reed. These deaths were caused by systemic racism and White supremacy that has gone unaddressed for too long.  What does this African American woman, who happens to be a bishop, have to say?

In the past week we have witnessed an expression of righteous indignation and opportunists creating havoc, which I strongly condemn. Yes, in cities across the country, protests have broken out and some have turned violent.  Praise God, in many cases these protests were peaceful.  Thank you, the Holy Spirit is always at work, and my response is one of gratitude.

I am so Godly proud of our rostered ministers and lay leaders who have raised their voices and taken to the streets, posted on social media condemning White supremacy, racism and the murder of Black and Brown people.  I have witnessed our pastors and deacons leading the protest decrying the hunting, profiling and killings that have happen recently reflecting hundreds of years of unanswered lynching, imprisonments and deaths of people of color.

Hold fast, St. Paul tells us: “No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; God will never let you be pushed past your limit; God will always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Beloved, keep the faith. We will get through the pandemic and the pandemonium as we do what is required of us as disciples, to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.  Our God, who loved each of us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God’s only son, gave us this command above all the rest: Love. Love God; love and serve our neighbors.

My response beloved, bottom line, is well done is better than well said!  SEPA Synod, let’s go to work dismantling racism, speaking against White supremacy, changing one heart at a time.  We can truly do more together than we can alone in the name of Jesus!

Love in Christ,

The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport, Bishop