Dear People of God in the Partnership Dioceses,
I write to you at the end of what, for many, has been a deeply disillusioning day. The U. S. Supreme Court this morning overturned Roe v. Wade, and abortion has already been outlawed in several states across the country. Although New York and Pennsylvania will, for now, remain places where reproductive health care is legal, for many people in our partnership, today’s news raises painful questions about our country’s commitment to the inherent dignity and self-determination of women.
The Episcopal Church has long supported the right to a safe and legal abortion, and I join with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the House of Deputies, in lamenting the Supreme Court’s decision.
For more than 40 years, our church has worked to develop a morally nuanced and theologically informed perspective on abortion, and while the language of the General Convention resolutions that articulate our position is often quite careful, the meaning is unmistakable. Since 1967, the Episcopal Church has stood in “unequivocal opposition to any legislation on the part of the national or state governments which would abridge or deny the right of individuals to reach informed decisions [about the termination of pregnancy] and to act upon them.”
I know that not all Episcopalians agree with our church’s position, and I ask that we deal with one another gently during this difficult and heart-wrenching time across our country.
I also want to tell you that the bishops of the church this morning received an email from the Rev. Canon C. K. Robertson of the Presiding Bishop’s staff, warning us that federal authorities had received information of “credible security threats against clergy and churches around the potential release by the U.S. Supreme Court of its abortion decision. There is concern that clergy who have advised parishioners about abortion access and their reproductive rights may face threats or violence.”
Canon Robertson sent his email not to alarm us, but to help us to be vigilant and well-prepared. “The guidance we are hearing is for religious communities to encourage peaceful responses to the decision when it comes—in the days following the decision and also in weeks to come –while remaining vigilant about potential security threats,” he wrote.
To that end, I am recommending the following resources that come to us from the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships:
- Sign up for HSIN (Homeland Security Information Network): Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) | Homeland Security (dhs.gov)
- Explore the resources of the US government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Protective Security Advisors program: Protective Security Advisors | CISA
- Sign Up for National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletins: National Terrorism Advisory System | Homeland Security (dhs.gov)
- Read CISA Resources on Mitigating Attacks on Houses of Worship Security Guide, and The Power of Hello.
The Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships, a branch of the U. S Department of Homeland Security may be a useful resource. The contact in our area is Raymond Bisogno, who can be reached by phone at 973-558-3841.
In addition, the United States Department of Justice Community Relations Service (CRS) is facilitating two webinars next week for faith-based leaders and community members on how to prevent and respond to hate crimes against places of worship.
Dates and Registration
Monday, June 27, 2022
12:00 -1:30 p.m. ET
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
12:00 -1:30 p.m. ET
At times such as these, I am grateful for the connection we share with one another and with Episcopalians across the church. If you have questions or concerns about today’s news or these security resources, please let me know via email. And please join me as we continue working for justice and praying for peace.