Dear Church of the Resurrection and Upper Midwest Family:
Our hearts are grieving as we lament another shooting in an American city. On Sunday, August 23rd, a Kenosha, Wisconsin police officer shot Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times. Many details about this shooting are still unknown while we await an investigation. But as I have listened to many men and women of color over the last few months, especially our Black Christian brothers and sisters, I’ve learned how traumatizing these events are for them and many others.
Mr. Blake’s mother, Julia Jackson, has shown clear leadership by expressing two things that have become essential for me–lamenting both the violence against Jacob Blake and the destruction in Kenosha. At a news conference on Tuesday, she called for an end to the violence in her son’s name. After saying that she is praying for Kenosha’s police officers, their families and the community, she added, “Let’s use our hearts, our love, and our intelligence to work together to show the rest of the world how humans are supposed to treat each other. America is great when we behave greatly.”
For our family throughout the Diocese of the Upper Midwest this is also a very personal incident. Light of Christ Anglican Church, a Church of the Resurrection plant led by Fr. Eirik Olsen, is striving valiantly to serve the Kenosha community. Fr. Eirik has also forged deep friendships with local Black church leaders.
Please pray for the physical and emotional healing of Jacob Blake and his family, especially his children who witnessed his shooting. Pray for Father Eirik, his family and church family, and his ministry partners in the Kenosha community as they seek to combat injustices and live as Christ-like peacemakers in their city. Also, please pray for Kenosha’s civic and law enforcement leaders that they may also help heal their city.
I look forward to sharing my own thoughts with you this Sunday before the Prayers of the People. In the meantime, ask the Lord to soften our hearts as he shows us what it means to be peacemakers for his sake, and join Mrs. Jackson in her prayers: “As I pray for my son’s healing physically, emotionally and spiritually, I also have been praying even before this for the healing of our country.”
Warmly in Christ,
Bishop Stewart Ruch III