Long Island Bishop Provenzano’s statement on Ferguson, Missouri

[Episcopal Diocese of Long Island] As we awaken this morning to images of violence and the destruction of property in Ferguson and other cities, and confront our anger and disappointment at the decision of the grand jury in Ferguson, I am struck by how much work is before us.

I am struck by how many words have been spoken and how little real change has occurred in understanding issues of race in our nation.

If, as it appears by the evidence presented, the law is on the side of an armed police officer shooting an unarmed suspect, then the law must be changed and evenly applied to all people; the police better trained to defuse confrontation with the public and above all a recognition of the issues of race and prejudice that inform the actions of all involved.

I must recommend to the people of our Diocese the Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of the Church in 1994.  We must make it our work to go back and read and learn and then apply the wisdom of our tradition to this and every other situation that so affects God’s people.

Our prayers go out to the family of Michael Brown, the police and their families, and the people of Ferguson.

Our prayers go out for peace, calm and faithful indignation that will bring about change. Real and lasting change.

The Right Reverend Lawrence C. Provenzano
Bishop of Long Island
The Episcopal Church in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk
The Episcopal Diocese of Long Island



  1. Patricia Angelone says:

    Bishop,I have reread your statement several times, and am left with many questions:
    Do you have an inside track as to exactly what happened that no one else does?
    So the police officer, witnesses, and Grand Jury members are all lying?
    So you totally ignore the fact that Michael Brown roughed up the shop owner and stole goods prior to the altercation with Officer Wilson?
    So since Michael Brown did not follow the directive of Officer Wilson, then proceeded to strike him and try to grab his gun, and then charged toward him, Brown was not responsible for the consequences of his own actions?
    So where is your anger at the rioters who endangered other people’s lives, destroyed property that did not belong to them,stole goods that did not belong to them, and stole the livelihoods of others in this process?
    You use the term “we” as if you can automatically speak on the behalf of everyone; this is very troubling to me.
    Patricia Angelone

  2. Patricia Angelone says:

    Bishop, I’ve read your statement several times; these are the questions I am left with:
    you use the words “we” “our” as if you can automatically speak on our behalf-I find this very troubling.
    Do you have an inside track as to exactly what happened that no one else does?
    Do you discount the fact that Michael roughed up the store keeper and stole items from the store before meeting Officer Wilson?
    Michael did not follow the directives of Officer Wilson, struck him twice, and tried to grab his gun-so Michael was not responsible for the direct consequences of his actions?
    Do you discount the fact that rioters endangered the lives of many,destroyed private property and livelihoods, and stole what did not belong to them?
    So forensic evidence counts for naught, Officer Wilson and eyewitnesses are not to be believed, and the Grand Jury members did not do their due diligence?
    Just trying to understand!

  3. Margaret Reis says:

    Bishop – Police are para military. The days of their presence on city streets as foot patroleman are long gone. They respond to emergencies and carry guns. However, they should be better trained to respond to emergencies, like carrying tazers, tear gas and back-up. How many white people needed police crime response because they committed a crime? No matter how you slice it, low income black people are indeed victims by their own choice – they commit crime more so than white people, Until everyone (including blacks) realize we are all in this together without rancor to past injustice, shake off their excuses to commit a crime, want to be upholding members of society, they will be treated as targets if they rob a store or sell cigarettes or drugs on the street. Christ when asked about caeser on a coin – responded render to god what belongs to god and render to caesar what is caesars. People need a connection with god and be aware of caesar whether he’s in Ferguson or NYC. This has nothing to do with discrimination. Police will respond. By the way, police do not want to be targets themselves as mentioned earlier above.

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