By Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, co-moderators of the General Assembly.
Today we are in mourning. As we were still reeling from the distressing news out of Baton Rouge and the Twin Cities area, we watched helplessly as horror unfolded in Dallas. Five police officers now lay dead and a city is yet collecting answers.
Just as we’ve condemned the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, we and Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II fervently condemn the senseless violence that has stolen the lives of five children of God and wounded at least six others. Additionally, these acts of violence have obfuscated the intent of the peaceful protesters who were being protected by the police. We seek answers, and we have very few at this time. We are simply left with the terror we all feel right now.
Our prayers are with the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas Area Rapid Transit agency as they continue their investigation and prepare to lay their beloved colleagues to rest. We pray for their resolve to continue to be blessed peacemakers. We also lift prayers for all who grieve due to the barrage of difficult news in recent days.
It is never easy when we are so profoundly confronted with the world’s brokenness. Our pastoral wish for you is that you care for someone today. Check on a loved one or colleague for whom these events are particularly personal and painful. Limit your own access to distressing images, if necessary for your health. Provide space for lament in your congregations and worshiping communities. Seek ways to live into the visible unity of Christ’s church, as our newest confession—the Confession of Belhar—calls us to do. Today especially, our communities need to find respite and healing. May they find it in the body of Jesus Christ.
We continue to pray and work for peace in our own contexts, trusting in God’s strength amid our own weakness and resting in the hope that the God who calls us to peacemaking will give us what we need to accomplish that end.
Originally posted on the web site of the Presbyterian News Service on July 8, 2016
PCUSA Stated Clerk Speaks Out on Police Killings of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile