Missouri Bishop Wayne Smith’s statement on Ferguson, Missouri

[Episcopal Diocese of Missouri] The prosecutor and grand jury in Saint Louis County have spoken in the matter of Michael Brown’s shooting death, but theirs is hardly the last word in this tragedy. These past hours have heard many expressions of broken trust in the system. Some expressions have been violent, to my anguish and disappointment. But many more have been peaceful and a sign of hope.

Our Church and our Diocese have responded throughout this crisis in many ways: with prayer, through providing material aid, in opening our doors to offer places of safety, and by finding various and courageous ways to stand in the gap. In the face of so much broken trust, the gospel demands for the ministry of reconciliation will require us to stay in that uncomfortable gap. That means that we can expect to become agents of Christ’s reconciliation. But it also means that, with our haunted pasts of racism and its current reality, we will ourselves need to be reconciled. That may prove the harder part.

In consultation with many others in our Diocese, I hope in the months ahead to marshal available resources, both for us to become better reconcilers — and also to be reconciled. All for the sake of Jesus Christ, who is our Peace and through whom we are being reconciled to God.

Wayne Smith
Tenth Bishop of Missouri


  1. Phillip Ayers says:

    Thank you, Wayne, for this message – as well as those from other bishops. It is a sticky situation, to be sure, and level heads must prevail. The grace of God will sustain everyone. Btw, I could well have become the rector of St. Stephen, Ferguson, around 1993, when a search committee were prepared to visit me in St. Paul, MN where I was at the time. However, I had accepted a call to W. Michigan – where you once served – and had to tell them that. It would have been interesting! My best friend in seminary was ordained Deacon there in 1970. I’ve given to their food pantry and keep them in my prayer often.
    I remember you from the “old” ADLMC organization and your good book, too, that premiered in 1996.
    Phil Ayers

  2. Mike Brester says:

    I agree. You should led a silent parade down the main street of Ferguson.

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