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Bishops urge “prayerful listening” on race, environment and poverty

Posted on: September 27, 2017 2:54 PM
Episcopal bishops gather in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, on 23 September as part of a day of “prayerful listening” to Alaskan Natives’ stories and of blessing the land. In Fairbanks they displayed this banner from a footbridge as they rallied in support of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Photo Credit: Neva Rae Fox / Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs

[Episcopal News Service, by David Paulsen] The US-based Episcopal Church’s House of Bishops approved a “Letter to the Church” on 26 September, invoking the bishops’ experiences in Alaska listening to the stories of the state’s indigenous people, and they called on Episcopalians to join them in working toward environmental and racial justice.

The letter was the capstone of the bishops’ six-day Autumn meeting, held in Fairbanks but incorporating a weekend of travel far beyond this small city. Across Alaska’s vast Interior, groups of bishops visited native communities that are struggling to preserve the subsistence way of life they have followed for thousands of years.

The threats to that way of life are many, though native residents specifically voiced concerns to the bishops about climate change and the impact of the resource-extraction industry.

“The bishops of the Episcopal Church came to Alaska to listen to the Earth and its peoples as an act of prayer, solidarity and witness,” the message said. Alluding to Ephesians 2:19, it continued: “The residents of Interior Alaska whom we met not strangers; they are members of the same household of faith.”

  • Click here to read David Paulsen’s full report on the Episcopal News Service website.