Ferguson: what we heard from the pulpit

Yesterday, Ann Fontaine asked you what you heard from the pulpit. Preachers, what did you say?

Here are some of the responses we received.

The Very Rev. Mike Kinman, dean of the Episcopal Cathedral in St. Louis:

And we realize that we are walking on holy ground. We realize that this moment, painful as it is, tragic as it is, frightening as it is, is deeply sacred. We realize that God is right here standing in the breach and bridging the gap between all our us’s and all our them’s, staring at our prejudices as plain as the nose on our face and inviting us to look in the mirror at them, too. And we look at this amazing woman with great admiration, and with equal parts joy and pain, through self-examination, confession, repentance and amendment of life we find a way to say:

“Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.”

The Rev. Jason Emerson, rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Omaha, NE

This week as conversations about race and violence again make the news; as conversations about the militarization of police, and the racial dynamics of law enforcement erupt…this week as our nation is put to the test to see if the constitutional right to peaceably assemble truly extends to all or is it just for white people, we need more Eucharist and less bullets. This week you gotta tell someone “Oh my God, you gotta try this.”

The Rev. Lara Stroud, at St. Thomas, Whitemarsh

This “us vs. them” mentality fractures our common life together. We draw circles around ourselves to shut out the people we disagree with, placing them on the margins. Each group sees the other as dogs, as unworthy of attention. But in the kingdom of God, none of these distinctions are made; God brings all of us in by drawing a larger circle around the circles we make. We draw circles of exclusion, but God draws ever-widening circles of inclusion.

The Rev. Megan Castellan, given at St. Peter’s and All Saints, Kansas City, MO

And her [The Canaanite Woman’s] relentless, unshakable faith made her angry. And her angry faith caught Jesus’ attention, her furious insistence that THIS HAD TO CHANGE got healing for her daughter.

Beloved in Christ, there are times we need to be angry. There are things in this world that should make us mad, should make us furious, should absolutely put fire in our blood. Now, I know, this is the Midwest, we don’t do angry real well, but sometimes, anger is what’s called for.

We should be angry when peaceful protesters are teargassed. We should be angry when they’re shot at. We should be angry when there’s so little accountability for those who wield so much power.

And most of all, we should be angry when children are being killed. Black children, white children, Arab children, Iraqi children, the refugee children at our borders, anyone’s children at risk should fill us with that faithful anger.

The Rev. John Adams, St. Andrew’s, Omaha, NE

I have a conflicted relationship with the Prayer of Humble Access. Some days, when I’m feeling good about myself and my relationship with God, I want to challenge it, to declare that, no, in baptism the Holy Spirit joined me with Christ on the cross and so I have already been made worthy to receive the body and blood. But there are other days when I find myself agreeing with the prayer wholeheartedly, that indeed I am not worthy even to touch any crumbs that might fall from the altar.

This week has been one of those times of agreement, thanks to the events in Ferguson, Missouri

The Rev. Rosalind Hughes in Cleveland, OH


t is the call of the churches to be, to build those bridges across barriers, to allow grace and mercy to flow freely, so that all may feast together. We are all in need, kneeling at the feet of Christ, and we say, here, that we have the faith to make things happen. We dare not be the blind leading the blind. We have to open our eyes to see the chasms between us and our neighbours, the people who live just across our street, whom we never see. We have to find out where those fissures lie, so that we can begin to build those bridges. We dare not be the blind leading the blind.

Did you preach on Ferguson yesterday? Hear a good sermon? What did you say?

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