The First Step (5/16/22)

Monday, May 16th, 2022

Logo for the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania

If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

1 John 1:6


My Siblings in Christ –

As the diocese convened our Loving Presence training on Saturday – a diocesan initiative to empower and equip churches to combat racism – we learned about the ten people killed in a New York supermarket. Let there be no argument: this vile and horrific attack that killed ten beloved children of God was because of racial hate. Hate.

I always offer prayer as the first step to all of those disheartened by inaction to prevent these tragedies. Not the only step, but the first one.

Bishops United Against Gun Violence, of which I am a co-convener, has a simple prayer that I share with you here. The website is a resource for action, prayers and our ministry.

We follow Jesus Christ and are called to walk in His light. In contrast, it is easy to conform to the world's ways. We cannot conform to the world. We are called to enter into the incarnational pain of the world in the same way our Savior entered into our pain. As Christians, we carry the name of Christ; and we are expected to give everything. Once again, this is our cross, and we must carry it. Entering into the pain of racism and violence is the cross with our names written upon it.

It would be easy to lose hope. I believe in the goodness of humanity. We start with prayer, and we trust that Christ is with us, and then we change our lives. The first step is to change how we treat and view one another. There is no "other."

Every moment of the day, we have the choice of how we encounter our siblings in the world. We must choose community over division, listening over argument, understanding over attacks, light over darkness, peace over violence, and love over hate—one person at a time, one loving act at a time.

Finally, if you want to get involved now, the diocese has two powerful groups that work on the issues of gun violence and racism. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Canon Toneh Smyth,

Let us pray for our siblings who died in Buffalo, their families and all those who are affected by violence on a daily basis. I hold all of you in prayer and let us go and change the world in his name.

Bishop Signature Updated 2021

The Rt. Reverend Daniel G. P. Gutiérrez

XVI Bishop of The Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania