Dear Companions in Christ in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut:
We are writing as a follow up to our letter of January 30, 2017, in response to President Trump's Executive Order regarding immigrants and refugees. We hope that this letter will be considered as an addition to our earlier letter (see original letter here).
We have received a substantial amount of communication in response to our letter of January 30. In fact, we have received more reaction to this letter than to any other letter sent by us in the last five years. The responses are almost evenly split with half applauding our letter and half taking serious issue with what we wrote. We believe this reflects the serious political divisions in our country, in our state, and in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, at this time.
Many of the responses, both in favor and against our letter, noted that we neglected to mention the need for our country's borders to be protected from international threats of terrorism. This is correct. We did neglect to mention that a crucial aspect of our government's, and thus our President's, responsibility is to protect the United States from violence and terrorism. Our neglecting to note this fact is a serious oversight for which we apologize. We are indeed sorry if our letter led anyone to believe that, as your bishops, we are not concerned about the safety of our country. That was not our intent. We appreciate and give thanks for our nation's armed forces, government officials, and all who seek to ensure that our country is peaceful, safe, and secure.
In the Episcopal Church in Connecticut we are committed to open dialogue and the creation of safe spaces where people can explore ideas, disagree at times, and find healthy ways to share God's peace with friends and strangers alike. This is a challenging task particularly when we find ourselves in charged and tension-filled times. We recognize that not everyone in The Episcopal Church agrees with our letter of January 30, 2017. We find our hope in Christ Jesus who holds us in our differences and invites us to find paths of reconciliation and peace. Guided by the Holy Spirit, we seek to proclaim the Gospel prophetically, and offer pastoral care for all.
We ask for your prayers that we may come together as Americans, and as Episcopalians in Connecticut, to heal the divisions in our nation and the world. May we be ever more faithful participants in God's mission of restoration and reconciliation.
The Rt. Rev. Ian T. Douglas The Rt. Rev. Laura J. Ahrens
Bishop Diocesan Bishop Suffragan