“We are the people of God”: A message from Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe regarding the events of 1/6/21

Watch below: A message from Bishop DeDe Duncan-Probe regarding the events of January 6th at the U.S. Capital.


Greetings friends,

We are the people of God. We know what we are about. We know how to recognize truth when we see it, because we seek truth all the time.

In the Diocese of Central New York, our Rule of Life is that we pray at all times, opening our hearts to the redemptive, transformative love of Jesus Christ. A love that calls us beyond ourselves to be concerned about others, not just our own interests. We also listen to voices different than our own. We have the courage to hear news that we don’t know, which means we can change our minds: we can grow, we can learn new things.

In this time, when so many are feeling fearful, I pray we will have the courage to know that God is with us. When we live for Jesus, we need not be afraid. So many of the conspiracy theories that are being propagated all over social media and other places—these conspiracy theories about our worst fears and nightmares—we can set those down and replace them instead with a confidence in knowing that our security comes from Jesus Christ: from forgiving and loving one another, from seeking and serving the best in other people, and recognizing when institutional racism is alive in our midst.

Yesterday’s events at the Capitol are very much an example of what institutional racism looks like. What if those mobs had been people of color? How might it have been different? And recognize that those events happened at buildings that were been built by slaves hands. At the top of the Capitol building is a statue of an indigenous person,* meant to represent, of all things, freedom. Freedom! Indigenous peoples’ land [were] appropriated, [they were] treated terribly, [they experienced] horrors and oppressions. And yet, there that statue stands.

You and I have much work to do in our own hearts. It begins with us. The redemption we want the world to experience, we experience first by seeing in our own hearts where we can be about forgiveness, restoration. We need restoration. We need forgiveness.

May you know this day that you are loved, that God is greater than the challenges before us, and that we will walk this road together.

Blessings be with you this day, and always.

Editor’s note: Thank you to a member of our Diocese who pointed out that the Freedom Statue atop the U.S. Capitol Building is not a statue of an indigenous person, though it is commonly referred to as such. The statue wears a headdress that, according to its designer, was suggested “by the costume of our Indian [sic] tribes.” An earlier design had the statue wearing a “liberty cap,” a symbol of freed slaves, but this was rejected by then-Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, who was at the time in charge of construction at the Capitol. 

  • Noreen Mooney

    I was at the supermarket early Wednesday evening when I overheard a young man on his cell phone: “I can see the Democrats paying people to act . . .”

    O Lord, I thought, it’s everywhere. I sputtered to myself about the ignorance and sheer gullibility of so many Americans, until I was brought up short by the question: What was I doing but indulging in my own “politics of resentment”? And how many people change their attitudes or behavior because they’ve been belittled?

    There’s been a good deal of conversation recently about “unconscious” racism–we don’t even realize we’re doing it. What about, say, unconscious classism, or elitism? It feels very real, indeed, to those who think they “don’t get no respect.”

    There’s a big difference, of course, between excuses and reasons. There’s no excuse for the January 6th mob riot–and plenty of blame to go around. But the reasons? They go deep, I think. And no committee or workshop can do much healing until we go deep enough to hear the heartbeat of God, and hear what God hears from those who feel discarded by our country.

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