The deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and the grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers who killed them, have raised difficult questions about race and injustice in the United States. Like many faith communities across the city and country, Trinity Wall Street has engaged with these issues through preaching and prayer.
The Rev. Dr. Jim Cooper, Rector, and the Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, Rector-Elect, released a statement on December 4 in which they expressed their anger and sadness at the deaths of Brown and Garner, and the lack of accountability for those responsible. The statement can be read here.
“We are called to turn, to face our own fears, our own uncertainties, to push deeper than ever into friendships across racial lines,” said Lupfer in his sermon on December 7, “and then to go outside of these doors and to change the world.”
The Rev. Dr. Mark Bozzuti-Jones preached on the topic of race and justice as well, reminding congregants that, “We are the people God is counting on to make a difference.”
On Sunday night, Trinity held a prayer service in St. Paul’s Chapel followed by Compline, inviting all people of faith in the community to join.
Trinity also hosted clergy and other members of New York City congregations for an interfaith prayer service in St. Paul’s Chapel on Monday morning, followed by a march to City Hall to demand reforms of the grand jury system to ensure justice after the chokehold death of Eric Garner.
“Trinity promises to be with this issue for the long haul,” said Cooper during Sunday’s service.
More actions and prayer are planned for the coming days. On Saturday, December 13, members of Trinity’s Task Force against Racism will travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in a march against police violence, organized by National Action Network.
On Tuesday, December 16, St. Phillips Episcopal Church in Harlem, founded in 19th century with support from Trinity, is holding an interfaith service to promote conversation, healing, and reconciliation from 6-8pm. All are welcome.