Responding to Racist Violence as the People of God

The confluence of the inequities revealed by COVID-19 and the systemic racism evident in recent acts of violence calls us to speak out, to fulfill our duty to protect the dignity of every child of God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. As our Presiding Bishop Curry wrote, "Love does not look like the silence and complicity of too many of us who wish more for tranquility than justice." Justice is love in action.

Most of us have a societal advantage that comes with being seen as the norm in America. It makes life smoother, and it's something we would barely notice unless it were suddenly taken away or didn't apply in the first place. We are in a unique position to make a difference by developing an awareness of systemic racism and fostering anti-racism in whatever we do and wherever we go. It takes some education, a lot of prayer and a willingness to step out of our comfort zone.

Each week the Outreach Community Service Committee will make suggestions under the categories LEARN, PRAY, ACT. One size does not fit all, but it's a start. If you have ideas, please let us know. We hope that these resources will serve to begin conversations that will be ongoing. Learning requires discernment. Prayer requires waiting upon God. Action is the fruit of these disciplines. Together, they provide us an opportunity to grow.


Here is an example of the suggestions: (This page will continue to grow with resources. Check back often.)


  • Understand Juneteenth (https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth).
  • View award winning documentary "13th" by Ava DuVernay on Netflix.
  • Read Waking up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race by Debby Irving.
  • View TED Talk: How to Overcome Our Biases? Walk Boldly Towards Them by Verna Myers at TEDxBeaconStreet.
  • Read Jesus and the Disinherited, a 1976 classic by acclaimed theologian and religious leader Howard Thurman, who said he was attempting to explore “what the teachings of Jesus have to say to those who stand with their backs against the wall…the poor, the disinherited, the oppressed.”
  • Take a look at "The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro,” a speech by Frederick Douglass before the Ladies’ Anti-Slavery Society of Rochester, New York, July 5, 1852. Please select passages or quotations that struck you that you might wish to discuss.
  • Explore the online presence of the Equal Justice Initiative, founded by public interest attorney Bryan Stevenson. EJI believes we need a new era of truth and justice that starts with confronting our history of racial injustice and the dehumanizing myth of racial hierarchy. Read EJI’s brief descriptions of enslavement, racial terror lynching, segregation, presumption of guilt and mass incarceration. Or, look at some of the issues in depth through reports and videos available on the site. We expect to hold nuanced conversations in the future, as Mr. Stevenson encourages us to make use of his materials for this purpose.
  • First, read the story of Jesus’s encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well in the Gospel of John 4:1-26.
  • Next, take a look at a short video, Renouncing Privilege at the well in Samaria, in which the Rev. Dr. Kelly Brown Douglas, finds an eye-opening lesson about racial privilege in this same story. Privilege is hard to see when you possess it and impossible to miss when you don't. Do you agree with her?
  • Finally, view or read Peter Vanderveen’s sermon from July 5, 2020, in which he said: “Civility isn’t enough. More important, more vital, is developing a renewed sense of love, which — I must insist — has nothing to do with affection or sentiment. For what love entails is seeing others through the lens of an infinite grace, which, because it is inexhaustible, cancels our disdain.”
  • According to University of Pennsylvania graduate and sociologist, Alice Goffman, in the U.S. two institutions guide teenagers on the journey to adulthood: college and prison. Ms.Goffman spent six years in a troubled Philadelphia neighborhood and saw first-hand how teenagers of African-American and Latino backgrounds are funneled down the path to prison — sometimes starting with relatively minor infractions. In a 16-minute TED Talk, she asks, "Why are we offering only handcuffs and jail time?" View TED Talk: How We’re Priming Some Kids for College and Others for Prison.


In this year alone, at least one person of color per month has died at the hands of police or people associated with justice departments. Pray with these names: William Green(Jan. 27), Ahmaud Arbery(Feb. 23), Manuel Ellis (March3), Breonna Taylor (March 13), Steven Demarco Taylor(April 18), Sean Read(May 6), George Floyd(May 25), David McAtee(June 1), Rayshard Brooks (June 12).

Pray For the Diversity of Races and Cultures

O God, who created all peoples in your image, we thank you for the wonderful diversity of races and cultures in this world.  Enrich our lives by ever-widening circles of fellowship, and show us your presence in those who differ most from us, until our knowledge of your love is made perfect in our love for all your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Book of Common Prayer, p. 840

Excerpts from an Independence Day prayer by Bishop Alexander Viets Griswold, 1766-1843: O holy, righteous, and immortal God: we beseech thee to continue your merciful goodness to us and to our country. Give wisdom and strength and union to the government and people of these United States. May we be preserved from a trust in ourselves and from all vain confidence of boasting. May we never use our liberty for a cloak of maliciousness; but follow after charity and the things that make for peace. Preserve us, O Lord, from desolating judgments; from selfishness, discord, and contention. Be merciful to those who need the blessings we enjoy. We ask these things in the name and through the merits of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

Look with pity, O heavenly Father, upon the people in this land who live with injustice, terror, disease and death as their constant companions. Have mercy upon us. Help us to eliminate our cruelty to these our neighbors. Strengthen those who spend their lives establishing equal protection of the law and equal opportunities for all. And grant that every one of us may enjoy a fair portion of the riches of this land, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer In Times of Conflict: O God, you have bound us together in a common life. Help us, in the midst of our struggles for justice and truth, to confront one another without hatred or bitterness, and to work together with mutual forbearance and respect; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. BCP Prayer 28, p. 824

Wake me up Lord, so that the evil of racism finds no home within me.
Keep watch over my heart Lord, and remove from me any barriers to your grace that may oppress and offend my brothers and sisters.
Fill my spirit Lord, so that I may give services of justice and peace.

For Prisons and Correctional Institutions (BCP 37, p. 826)
Lord Jesus, for our sake you were condemned as a criminal: Visit our jails and prisons with your pity and judgment. Remember all prisoners, and bring the guilty to repentance and amendment of life according to your will, and give them hope for their future. When any are held unjustly, bring them release; forgive us, and teach us to improve our justice. Remember those who work in these institutions; keep them humane and compassionate; and save them from becoming brutal or callous. And since what we do for those in prison, O Lord, we do for you, constrain us to improve their lot. All this we ask for your mercy’s sake. Amen.
(From USCCB A Prayer Service for Racial Healing in our Land)


  • Seek and pay attention to the stories of people who are different from you, especially those of oppressed people.
  • Sign up to provide food for the people of Darby on our website.
  • Consider how we can manifest God’s love to the world:
  • Look for God’s presence in someone or some group that differs from you.
  • Be intentional about honoring God’s image in one another.
  • Visit The Episcopal Public Policy Network website, and learn about the grassroots network of Episcopalians across the country dedicated to carrying out the Baptismal Covenant call to "strive for justice and peace" through the active ministry of public policy advocacy.
  • Listen without ego and defensiveness to people of color. Truly listen. Don’t scroll past articles written by people of color — Read them.
  • Sign up to provide support to Interfaith Hospitality Network during Redeemer’s host week, July 26-August 2.
  • In his July 26 homily based on the parables in Matthew 13, (https://RedeemerBrynMawr.sermon.net/main/main/21633123), Michael Palmisano said “the Kingdom of Heaven is the active reign of God over all creation…For many of us the Kingdom of Heaven and the hope it espouses will only be understood from a position of solidarity with those who need it the most.” One way to live this out is to ensure the school your children attend is actively working to create a culture of anti-racism and relationship building and has a clear policy of zero tolerance for racial slurs, violence, micro-aggression and oppression.


Suggestions: Email Outreach Community Service Committee members Lauren Wilkinson or Barbara Billings

This page will continue to grow with resources. Check back often.

Last Published: July 30, 2020 11:40 AM