Dear Friends in Christ,
The Right Reverend George Wayne Smith, Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri, has asked for our prayers for the City and County of Saint Louis, and especially the town of Ferguson, in the wake of the shooting death of a young African-American, Michael Brown, by an officer of the local police. Mr. Brown was unarmed at the time. Five nights of protests have been met with what many see as an excessive use of force by law enforcement, adding to the tension and frustration of the residents.
The region of Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania is no stranger to racial violence; many have seen the cost, and many have personally paid the price, for the history of racial injustice that continues to mark our common life. As we pray for the people and churches of Saint Louis, may we also keep in our prayers the neighborhoods of our own region where violence related to racism and poverty continues to take young lives, shattering families, and deepening despair. Let us also pray for all the men and women who serve in our own police departments, as well as those in Missouri, that God may uphold and guide them in the wise exercise of their authority, correct them in any error, protect them from danger, and make them instruments of His peace.
Finally, may the Lord make us all deeply sensible of our own responsibility in addressing the ongoing consequences of racial division in our own cities and communities, and show us what He would have us be about as part of His work of healing in the coming days.
Please continue to remember our brother +Wayne and the clergy and people of the Diocese of Missouri as they bear witness to the Prince of Peace in this difficult time.
Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh