Dear Faith or Community Leader
For 125 years the people of Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church have come together as a family, have come together as a faithful worshiping community, have come together to open our doors and reach out in service to the people of this city of Denver. In all those years we have not been shy in partnering with other faith communities and organizations to contribute to the greater good. Our hearts have found great joy in all of this.
In this time we find our hearts are heavy.
It is impossible to close our eyes and pretend not to see a great upwelling of anger, scapegoating, and hate in our country, state, and city. It is impossible to close our eyes and pretend not to see that those who increasingly are targets for acts of anger and hate are too often in places of great vulnerability and insecurity.
From insult and assault committed against women, children, and others who have virtually no defense or defenders, to the desecration and destruction of houses of worship, the incidence of hate crimes continues to rise.
Our hearts break when we hear of women being assaulted for wearing hijab. Our hearts break hearing about grade-school children being bullied by fellow students and even teachers because of the color of their skin, their country of origin, or their religion. Our hearts break hearing of members of the LGBTQ community being harassed and assaulted for simply being themselves.
Our hearts break knowing so many groups feel as if it is open season and fear that they are being hunted: Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Gays, Hispanics, Blacks, Arabs, Asians, Native Americans, the Disabled. With over 1,000 reported incidents of hate crimes in November alone there is more than enough reason for fear.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed that people everywhere ought to be free from fear and free from want, and ought to be able to enjoy freedom of worship and freedom of speech. If these freedoms are denied to anyone in this country they are denied to us all.
It would be so easy to succumb to hatred for those who are, in these days and in this city, seeking to deny others these freedoms. But, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of our country’s greatest prophets, taught, “Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.” And of course the one we follow as Christians calls his followers to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Rejecting hate we choose to stand up in love and as neighbors.
We want your community to know you are not alone, together, we all belong here, we are neighbors. If there is joy in this time it is found just there – together we are neighbors in what actually makes this country strong – our diversity. We want you to know in these fearful days we stand with you in love, as neighbors, as children of the same race – the human race – and children of the God who loves us all.
What we can do we will do to be loving neighbors. Your community doesn’t stand alone in facing hatred. We stand with you. We all stand together.
The People of Saint Barnabas Episcopal Church