Dear Friends in Christ,
Earlier this week we informed you that Westboro Baptist intends to picket St. David’s this Sunday, 8:30-9 a.m. We encourage you all to be with us and not to engage with the small group of picketers gathered on the sidewalks around St. David’s. You will be able to get into the parking garage and building without issue. We are taking steps to ensure the comfort and safety of all.
Our friends in Christ at All Saints will be dealing with them before us, and the protesters intend to move to the convention center when they leave St. David’s.
We understand that for some people, ignoring the hate being spewed by this group on the steps of your church is impossible. We will have cards for you to request prayers to remember the many who have been so hurt by the hate this group promotes. These cards will be gathered together in a visual representation of the love that wins. You are also free to bring flowers as a declaration that God is a God of love and beauty and diversity, not one of hate and fear. There will also be placards with the message “Love is the way. The Episcopal church welcomes you.” You are welcome to hold one in defiance of the signs the picketers will be holding.
We do not want people to interact with these protesters. A reaction and confrontation are what they are after and what they are trained to provoke. Your presence and participation in the worship and formation of our community is the strongest message of God’s love you can provide.
Should you choose to participate in the counter-protest, please follow the following rules of non-engagement.
3 Rules of Non-Engagement: Peaceful Counter-Protest
- Do not, under any circumstance, engage directly with the protesters.
- If you feel yourself getting angry to the point you feel you might engage with the protesters, take a break and step away.
- If you observe anyone else getting angry to the point where it seems they might engage directly with the protesters, approach them to check-in, and encourage them to take a break.
The antidote to hate speech is good speech. Spread positive messages of tolerance and respect throughout the community. Discuss openly how hateful speech can poison a community. – Anti-Defamation League
Mother Katie Wright and Father Chuck Treadwell