Pastoral messages from Bishop Beisner and Interim Dean Richardson

Pastoral messages from Bishop Beisner and Interim Dean Richardson

Pastoral Message Concerning the District Attorney's Decision from Bishop Barry Beisner

Dear Friends in Christ:

Grace and peace to you. I write to you having just heard the announcement by District Attorney Schubert that the officers involved in the shooting death of Stephon Clark will not be charged. We have immediately paused our Diocesan Board of Trustees meeting for prayer: for Stephon Clark's family and friends, in their grief; for all in our local law enforcement, government, and community organizations, that we all might work together for justice and peace; and for ourselves, remembering that, regardless of the extent to which race was a factor in this particular death, racism is pervasively present in our society and its institutions, and racism is a sin, everywhere and always. In this moment, we are profoundly aware of our Baptismal promises to resist such evil, and to respect the dignity of every human being.

The Apostle teaches us that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to God, and that God has entrusted the on-going work of that reconciliation to us (II Corinthians 5:19). That is our mission. This is a moment for each of us, and all of us together, to recommit to that mission: to be true reconcilers; to deepen our engagement in our congregations, neighborhoods, schools, and civic organizations, and in the political processes available to us, to actively fight against the unholy trinity of racism, poverty, and violence that grips our nation. I commend to you the work and witness of Sacramento Area Congregations Together, through which many of us in this region are seeking effective steps forward. Hopefully, there are similar friends, allies, and opportunities in all of our communities.

As Martin Luther King observed, "A dark, desperate, confused and sin-sick world waits for a new kind of man and a new kind of power." That new humanity and power are ours in Christ. It is for us to live it, make it known, and make it real.God bless, strengthen, and sustain us in this work.

Faithfully,



Pastoral Message Concerning the District Attorney's Decision from Interim Dean Jim Richardson

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert has issued her decision not to file any charges against the police officers involved in the shooting death of Stephon Clark, who was unarmed, almost a year ago. As you recall, this incident roiled our community and garnered national attention. For many, this decision is the absolute correct one, for others this is wrong and proves that those in power do not care about people of color or about justice.

There does not seem to be any middle ground in this, and yet in the Episcopal Church's Baptismal Covenant we are called to "strive for justice and peace among all people and respect the dignity of every human being." 

Our faith calls us to work for justice even as we resist the call to anger and violence. Some of us may choose to march peacefully while others support the district attorney's decision. All have a right to express their opinion.

Many in the faith community, particularly through Sacramento Area Congregations Together (Sacramento ACT) of which we are a part, have been planning for the aftermath of this decision. Many clergy and people of faith plan to march, assisting those who are frightened, injured, or lost. Some will serve as legal observers bearing witness to the behavior of demonstrators and law enforcement. 

Be assured, though, that real change will not occur just because people marched. Real change will come when we change our hearts, when we look honestly at our behaviors, friendships and public practices. How do these practices reflect the values we hold, the values our faith teaches, and the values our nation claims?

From the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech:
Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of this moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality.

The Rev. James Richardson
Interim Dean
Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento


© 2013 The Episcopal Diocese of Northern California.

Designed by: Element Fusion