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Jun 27, 2015

Emily Shelton, EPF's Young Adult Delegation, Speaks Out

Yesterday, I had the privilege of testifying before a committee at GC78. With shaking knees and trembling hands, I let the Holy Spirit pour forth these words:

 

"God works in mysterious ways. But sometimes, God smacks us upside the head and says pay attention: Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown. These were all just names flashing across a screen to me until it came to my front door.

 

On March 17, a fellow student at the University of Virginia was brutally assaulted by an ABC officer at a bar behind my house. Martese Johnson's blood spattered the concrete sidewalks in Charlottesville. This event is not isolated. God is sounding the alarm, but we keep hitting the snooze button.

 

It is time for the Church to get out of bed.

 

When I saw bill C019, I could not contain my excitement. My favorite thing about the Episcopal Church is its commitment to responding to events in our world. i have talked about social justice more in these past 48 hours than I can ever remember (and that's a lot...social justice is my bread and butter of conversation). While talking is a great first step to acknowledging the many ways in which we fall short, it is not enough.

 

I urge the committee to include lines calling for explicit action, whether that means encouraging parishes to organize and participate in marches or hosting diversity awareness training sessions. Simply posting a Facebook status is not enough. Our inaction is action.
This resolution is an amazing start to bringing conversation to privileged pews, and I ask you to prayerfully consider how to make this beginning see the end."

 

What's really cool is that my line, "God is sounding the alarm, but we keep hitting the snooze button," resonated with the committee. Someone came up to me afterwards and asked for my name so they could quote me. An Episcopal Peace Fellowship member said that it was still circulating this morning. I was told that the motto at General Convention is: "Man, I wish I said that!"

 

"Don't worry, you will." So glad my meditations could be used as a springboard for discussion and bringing awareness to The Episcopal Church.


It hit me yesterday that my words here make a difference. This democracy cares. Each bishop, priest, and lay deputy on the committee is wholeheartedly invested in listening to testimonies and improving the church. And improving the church does not mean coming in with their own agenda and ignoring everyone else. Our words are making a difference. It is both humbling and exciting to be a part of something so large and wonderful!

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