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Presiding Bishop's letter to the bishops on military strikes

By The Most Rev. Frank T. Griswold
2001-291
10/9/2001
[Episcopal News Service]  For the House of Bishops

Dear brothers and sisters:

I write to you in this sober moment when military action has just begun in an effort to put a stop to terrorist activities. This morning I sent a letter to Secretary Powell, as a word of encouragement and to assure him of my prayers and concern for him, and also to let him know of the commitment of our bishops to waging reconciliation. I sent him a copy of our statement from our September meeting Burlington, Vermont: On Waging Reconciliation. I enclose a copy with this letter as some bishops not with us in Vermont may not have seen it. I encourage diocesan bishops who have not done so to pass the statement along to clergy and congregations.

As I shared with the House while we were in Burlington, I have asked the Rt. Rev. Arthur Walmsley, retired Bishop of Connecticut, to coordinate the activities flowing out from our statement. Arthur has graciously agreed to give us time through the March meeting of the House of Bishops to serve as Coordinator of the House of Bishops Reconciliation Initiative. At the March meeting we will look at what has already been accomplished and consider future strategies, which are being developed over these next months.

Listening to the reports yesterday, and the various news analyses, I thought again of our discussions at our September meeting on how we inhabit multiple realities, and must make room for the inevitable ambiguities of complex situations. In particular, I thought that at this moment there are those who are very clear that the military strikes are the appropriate course. And, on the other hand there are those who believe that such military actions only fan the flames of terrorism and expose innocent people to harm. My hope is that those who believe the strikes are the proper course will not see those who disagree as unpatriotic, and that those who think military action is unwise will not see those of the other view as war-mongering or simply seeking revenge. We as one nation need to be mindful not to dismiss or caricature one another's point of view at this difficult and anxious time. I hope that we as bishops can wage reconciliation in this moment: helping to make plain that the various perspectives individuals hold on what we should or should not do as a nation come out of a deep place of desiring what is best for the country and the world.

Let us pray for peace in the world, and for ourselves - that we may be instruments of that peace.

Yours in Christ,

Frank T. Griswold
Presiding Bishop and Primate