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Jun 18, 2015

Diocese Tolls Bells to Remember Murdered in Charleston

Beginning at noon time today (CST), I am asking all the churches of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas to toll their bells for the nine people murdered last night at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. We join churches doing the same at noon local time across the country.


As a further statement of our contempt for this crime, I am also asking for all of our churches to take a greater role in standing against the systemic violence and hatred against people of color that still exists in our nation. 


On the eve of the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, we are reminded of the price paid so that all people may worship without fear of violence. Yet we are aware more than ever that we have a long way to go to be a safe society for all people. Fifty years after the race riots in Watts and only months after fatal shootings of black men in Ferguson and Baltimore, we are reminded there is much to be done as we “strive for justice and peace among all people, and respect the dignity of every human being.” 


Today we grieve and pray for the dead, we remember the parents, the friends, the leaders, the mother's sons and daughters, these Martyrs of Charleston who died on their knees last night. The first nine minutes will be for them. The tenth minute is for the perpetrator the crime.


Let us be mindful also to confess our sin of indifference and to vow to work for a peaceful society where we heal history, live with difference instead of expecting deference, where we celebrate diversity, and where we create a safe commons where all God’s people may live. Let the eleventh moment be the moment when we stand together and rejoice that we have one another, and take our steps into the future God intends for us.


For your prayers:

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your Martyrs of Charleston. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, sheep of your own fold, lambs of your own flock, sinners of your own redeeming. Receive them into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen


Holy God, we confess to you our sin of indifference to the affliction of your people, our sin of silence in the face of oppression, our sin of complicity in a culture of racism. Let us remember that all lives matter. Use your churches and all communities of faith to bring into being that beloved community where all your children are treated with dignity, love and high regard. This very day give us wisdom and determination to turn our prayers into actions to stand with those who weep and wail, to heal those who are driven by ignorance and hate, and to end the culture of violence that afflicts us all. In Jesus name we ask this. Amen.



The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle

IX Bishop of Texas



The Coventry Litany of Reconciliation

Provost Richard Howard put the words “FATHER FORGIVE” on the wall behind the charred cross in the ruins of the destroyed Coventry Cathedral in 1948, not “Father forgive Them,” because we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)


These words moved generations of people and are prayed in the Litany of Reconciliation every Friday at noon outside in the ruins and in many other places around the world.


The Litany of Reconciliation, based on the seven cardinal sins, was written in 1958 by Canon Joseph Poole, the first precentor of the new Coventry Cathedral. It is a universal and timeless confession of humanity’s failings, but it evokes us to approach these sins and weaknesses in the forgiveness of God’s love.  Read more about the Community of the Cross of Nails.


The Litany of Reconciliation

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

The hatred which divides nation from nation, race from race, class from class,

Father, forgive.

The covetous desires of people and nations to possess what is not their own,

Father, forgive.

The greed which exploits the work of human hands and lays waste the earth,

Father, forgive.

Our envy of the welfare and happiness of others,

Father, forgive.

Our indifference to the plight of the imprisoned, the homeless, the refugee,

Father, forgive.

The lust which dishonors the bodies of men, women and children,

Father, forgive.

The pride which leads us to trust in ourselves and not in God,

Father, forgive.

Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.


The idea of praying together and the prayers are provided by Christ Church Cathedral, St. Louis. The litany is from the Community of the Cross of Nails, Coventry, UK.