Open Letter from the Rector
June 9, 2020
Dear Beloved in Christ,
Like you, I am heartbroken and angry about the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. These acts of violence reveals deep racial injustices that continue to be present in our common life. If you have not already seen it, I encourage you to see the Presiding Bishop’s word to the church on “When the Cameras are Gone…” which can be found here.
In our Baptismal Covenant, we commit to strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being, with God’s help. As we consider ways to help, we must remember that the way forward will require us cultivating the ancient Christian practice of humility—what St. Benedict emphasizes most in his Rule of Life for the Christian individual. As blogger Katie Anthony puts it: “Watch. Read. Listen. Learn. Let it chill you. Do not respond like you always have. Not yet. Absorb it. Let it change you.”
My hope is that we, the laity and leadership Church of the Holy Nativity, will choose to be changed and to respond. Committing to the work of racial reconciliation and justice becomes one of the many ways in which we as a church community live out our mission – “becoming a community of Christian love” when we are “called to grow, sent to serve” and realize that “every member a priest and every work a worship” is how we do that work.
As a start, based on the conversation we engaged in this past Sunday after our worship, and in line with already existing structures in the Diocese of Chicago here are some initial steps we can take:
Pray without ceasing.
Commit to further conversation and education both individually and corporately, working with the Antiracism Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago to develop relationships with the black community and other communities of color.
Continue to support existing outreach ministries that directly impact our local community currently such as DuPage United, Magdalene House Chicago, Exodus World Services, PADS, Food Pantry, etc.
Pray without ceasing.
There are no easy answers to everything unfolding around us, yet as followers of Jesus, we always have a clear mandate: to love our neighbor! The work of repentance and reconciliation is work that we all need and will require us to hold one another accountable – and it must be framed with prayer.
In the words of our Presiding Bishop: “Opening and changing hearts does not happen overnight. The Christian race is not a sprint; it is a marathon. Our prayers and our work for justice, healing and truth-telling must be unceasing. Let us recommit ourselves to following in the footsteps of Jesus, the way that leads to healing, justice and love.”
Let us pray that we might walk the way of love, witness to the way of love, and join with the Holy Spirit in turning this world into the dream that God longs to bring about.
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Bradley A. Linboom
Rector, Church of the Holy Nativity – Clarendon Hills