St. Mark's Stories

Presiding Bishop Curry, the Rev. Jim Wallis join with faith leaders to issue letter on Reclaiming Jesus: A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners have joined with faith leaders to issue the following letter:

Reclaiming Jesus:
A Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action


As the elders who wrote the declaration “Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis,” to which 5 million people responded, we now issue “A Call to Prayer and Fasting.” We urge Christians to remain steadfast in their faith and engage with the deepening challenges our nation faces.

In 1863, at the height of the Civil War—the most divided time in American history—Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national “day of fasting, humiliation, and prayer.” Today, we also believe our national crisis calls for prayer, fasting, humility, and repentance. With the season of Lent before us, we ask how we can apply Lenten spiritual practices to our lives and to the dangers facing our democracy.

We pray with those who suffered during the unconscionable government shutdown and with those who face poverty and hunger every day. We pray for those who live in fear of deportation and family separation. We pray for those who face violence—especially parents who fear for their children of color—and those who endure language of racial divisiveness. We pray for the soul of the nation and the resilience of our government’s processes. We pray for those who have lost hope.

Above all, we pray for God to take away our fear and stir within us certainty in the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord. We pray that all will come to know that Jesus is love and that this knowledge will permeate our lives. We pray that we may have wisdom to discern and speak truth, and courage to stand for it in our public squares. We pray that we may be bridges that bring God’s love to our angry national discourse. We pray for pure hearts.

Therefore, we are calling for national prayer and fasting beginning on Ash Wednesday, March 6, and continuing through the season of Lent. We call upon church leaders, pastors, and local congregations to respond to the ongoing devastation that so many people face. We also call upon church leaders to stand up to the misuse and abuse of political power, in protection of the constitutional checks and balances of government and the common good.

We announce this “Call to Prayer, Fasting, and Action” to local cathedrals and churches, for Ash Wednesday services around the country. We call on clergy to pray and preach the gospel message and lead their churches to serve as the conscience of the nation. We call on clergy to foster dialogue that builds unity. We call on clergy to offer prayers that our political leaders will make decisions not for their self-interest but for what is right for our nation and those whom Jesus called “the least of these.”

Let us assemble for prayer in national and local worship spaces across denominational lines. Prayer turns us to God and fasting focuses our attention on repentance. Gathering to pray will anchor us for the days ahead. Our Lenten prayers in our homes and our churches can be weekly and daily, individual and corporate, personal and public. As we pray, let us also discern what our best responses should be in such a time as this. It is time to reclaim Jesus—and have Jesus lay his claim on us.

We must pray and ask God to take us deeper and prepare us to give a response that comes not from the Left or the Right, but because we are, first and foremost, followers of Jesus. Lent is traditionally characterized by prayer, penitence, and almsgiving—which is defined broadly as solidarity with the most vulnerable. Prayer and fasting will help us find the spiritual vigilance and availability that are necessary for action.

May God bless and keep us, guide and direct us, and prepare us to reclaim Jesus.


Bishop Carroll A. Baltimore, President and CEO, Global Alliance Interfaith Network
Dr. Amos Brown, Chair, Social Justice Commission, National Baptist Convention USA, Inc.
Rev. Dr. Walter Brueggemann, Professor Emeritus, Columbia Theological Seminary
Dr. Tony Campolo, Cofounder, Red Letter Christians
Dr. Iva Carruthers, General Secretary, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference
The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop and Primate, The Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. James Forbes, President and Founder, Healing of the Nations Foundation and Preaching Professor at Union Theological Seminary
Rev. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary Emeritus, Reformed Church in America
Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, Senior Pastor, Ray of Hope Christian Church, Decatur, Ga.
Rev. Dr. Richard Hamm, former General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
Rev. Dr. Joel C. Hunter, Faith Community Organizer and Chairman, Community Resource Network
Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Rev. Ray Rivera, President and Founder, Latino Pastoral Action Center
Fr. Richard Rohr, Founder, Center for Action and Contemplation
Dr. Ron Sider, President Emeritus, Evangelicals for Social Action
Rev. Jim Wallis, President and Founder, Sojourners
Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, Director, NCC Truth and Racial Justice Initiative
Dr. Barbara Williams-Skinner, Co-Convener, National African American Clergy Network, and President, Skinner Leadership Institute
Bishop Will Willimon, Bishop, The United Methodist Church, retired, and Professor of the Practice of Ministry, Duke Divinity School


Posted 2/22/2019

Interfaith Leaders Implore Trump, McConnell and Pelosi to End Shutdown

Love your neighbor as yourself." - 

Leviticus 19:18

"Do to others what you would have them do to you." - Matthew 7:12

Allah says in the Qur'an as translated: "Fulfill the measure and weight and do not deprive people of their due and cause not corruption upon the earth after its reformation." - Al-A`raf 7:85

"God's grace and love can be experienced when one cares for the poor and the destitute." - Guru Nanak, Sikh scriptures

"The entire humanity is one family." 

- Hindu Rig Veda - Vasudaiva Kutumbakam


Dear President Trump, Senator McConnell, and Speaker Pelosi,

As the partial federal government shutdown enters its third week, we, the undersigned interfaith leaders of Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia, grieve the disproportionate burden the shutdown has placed on federal employees and contract workers. We are deeply concerned for all those whose lives have been thrust into economic uncertainty due to the halt in government services and agencies.

While the effects are felt nationwide, our region is especially impacted. Many in our faith communities are struggling, as are their co-workers and neighbors, and we are concerned for them and their families. Moreover, we are all vulnerable when those whose services we depend upon are under such duress. The long-term consequences of the shutdown are mounting, and we respectfully add our voices to those calling for it to end.

On the issues of border security and our immigration policy, we agree with President Trump that we face a crisis of heart and soul, though we differ dramatically in our understanding of it. Differences aside, we are clear that inventing a new crisis by closing the government and adversely affecting so many innocent people does not help to address border security.

The humanitarian crisis at the border is real. The reasons for this crisis are many and complex, and they require a multi-faceted response not only at the border itself, but with comprehensive immigration reform, and an approach to foreign policy that addresses the rampant corruption, gang violence, and economic desperation that is causing so many to flee their countries.

In the meantime, people are suffering and we cannot turn away. Our faith traditions call us to treat one another as we would want to be treated, to respond with compassion, for God's compassion knows no borders. Justice requires that we act for the welfare of all. Today we speak with one voice urging our public leaders to meet the obligations of their office and reopen the federal government as they continue to seek just and merciful solutions to those seeking refuge in our land.


Rev. Dr. David A. Anderson

Founding & Senior Pastor, Bridgeway Community Church


Dr. E. Gail Anderson Holness

Senior Pastor, Christ Our Redeemer AME Church (DC)


Imam Johari Abdulmalik

Muslim Society of Washington


Bishop LaTrelle Miller Easterling

Washington Episcopal Area United Methodist Church


The Rt. Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde

Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington


The Rt. Rev. Susan E. Goff

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia


The Rev. Richard H. Graham, Bishop

Metropolitan Washington, D. C., Synod 

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The Reverend Dr. Susan T. Henry-Crowe,

General Secretary, General Board of Church and Society

The United Methodist Church


The Very Rev. Randy Hollerith

Dean, Washington National Cathedral


Bishop Sharma D. Lewis

Richmond Episcopal Area, The United Methodist Church


Rabbi M. Bruce Lustig

Sr. Rabbi, Washington Hebrew Congregation


Rabbi Gerald Serotta

Executive Director, Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington


Imam Dr. Talib M. Shareef, USAF-Retired

President, Masjid Muhammad, The Nation's Mosque


Dr. Siva Subramanian

United Hindu Jain Temples Association and Sri Siva Vishnu Temple


The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton

Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Maryland


The Rev. Ed White

National Capital Presbytery


Rev. Dr. Christopher L. Zacharias

John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church, The National Church of Zion Methodism


The Rt. Rev. David Colin Jones

Bishop Suffragan of Virginia, Retired


The Rt. Rev. Shannon S. Johnston, Retired 

XIII Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Virginia


The Rt. Rev. Robert W. Ihloff, Bishop Associate

Episcopal Diocese of Virginia


The Rt. Rev. Edwin F. Gulick,

Visiting Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Posted 1/17/2019

Our faithful response to tragedy is always to pray. But then we are called to act.

November 08, 2018
Thus says the Lord: “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more." Jeremiah 31:15
With the nation, we grieve the lives lost and forever changed last night in Thousand Oaks, California when a man armed with a gun opened fire into a crowded bar filled with college students. With this tragedy, the number of mass shootings in the United States in 2018 now stands at 307. In the same time period, there have been 160 fatal shootings within our diocese.
The unrelenting rituals of violence and grief, shock and predictable response (or lack of response) can desensitize us to their horror. But last week, as I presided at the funeral of one precious young man whose promising life was cut short by a bullet, I saw up close the devastating grief caused by gun violence. As I write, family members and friends of those at the bar in Thousand Oaks are awaiting news on their loved ones. “The scene inside is horrific,” a police officer just said on the news. “There is blood everywhere.” May God have mercy.
Our faithful response to tragedy is always to pray. But then we are called to act. As a prayerful and sacramental people, we act in the face of tragedy with a hopeful expectancy of change. As your bishop and as a fellow follower of Christ, I renew my commitment to do whatever I can to end the scourge of gun violence that has overtaken our land. I give thanks to God that so many in this diocese also feel called to this work. You are my inspiration.
Together, with our eyes on Jesus and his call to love, we carry on.
Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde
Bishop of Washington

by Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde  |