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Heartfelt sorrow over recent events

To the editor:

On behalf of the Suffolk Clergy United, we would like to share our heartfelt sorrow and concern over the events that took place on Dec. 5 to Lt. Caron Nazrio in Windsor during a traffic stop and the fatal shooting of Andrew Brown Jr. by police on April 21st in Elizabeth City, N.C. These events were in our own backyard and they are representative of the racial injustice causing denial and division throughout our country.

As Christians, we are called to love all God’s children and to act when we witness injustice. We must speak out before this happens again. In Psalm 33:5, we hear the words, “The Lord promotes equity and justice; the Lord’s faithfulness extends throughout the earth.” Our prayers and support go out to the victims, their families, and friends as they continue to grieve and process these events.

We stand against the use of unnecessary force which harms human life and causes many people, especially people of color, to live in fear.

Our hearts ache because of the clear inequality within our current justice system.  Why must we live in a world which is so divisive? We are created with a rich diversity of blessings which God bestowed on us to enrich his kingdom. In Galatians 3:28, we are reminded that, “There is neither Jew or Gentile, neither slave or free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

We realize that these two events are just a few examples of the ongoing struggle with equity we face daily. We understand that there are many stories that are left unheard and as faith leaders in this community, we wish to give a safe space to share our hurt and anger and to join in prayer to God for grace and guidance.

We would like to invite the community to join us in a prayer vigil at 5:30 p.m. Friday, June 4 at the Prayer Labyrinth at Lake Prince Woods. Together, we can listen to one another, share our hearts, and search for answers from God.

  • Rev. Devon Blair. Pastor, Wesley Chapel United Methodist Church
  • Rev. Julie Sterling, Pastor, Suffolk Presbyterian Church
  • Rev. Gary Newsome, Chaplain/Spiritual Life Director, Lake Prince Woods
  • Rev. Leslie Ferguson, Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church
  • Rev. T. Floyd Irby Jr., Retired
  • Rev. Rich Meiser, Pastor, Main Street United Methodist Church
  • Rev. Mary Ann Biggs, Pastor, Oakland Christian Church
  • Dr. Madelene F. Beard, Senior Pastor, Galatians United Church of Christ
  • Dr. Keith Emerson, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church