Hon. Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was a devoted Episcopalian and he is commemorated by our Church on May 17. An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, serving from October 1967 until October 1991, Marshall was the Court’s 96th justice and its first African-American justice.
Before becoming a jurist, Marshall was a lawyer who was best known for his high success rate in arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court and particularly for his victory in Brown v. Board of Education, a decision that desegregated public schools. His impact on our social fabric is profound. He served on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit after being appointed by President John F. Kennedy and then served as the Solicitor General after being appointed by President Lyndon Johnson in 1965. President Johnson nominated him to the United States Supreme Court in 1967.
Marshall was an active member of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church in Harlem, serving on the Vestry, as Senior Warden and as Deputy to the 1964 General Convention, before moving to Washington to serve on the Supreme Court.
Eternal and ever-gracious God, you blessed your servant Thurgood Marshall with grace and courage to discern and speak the truth: Grant that, following his example, we may know you and recognize that we are all your children, brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
I believe in God
who created the world not ready made
like a thing that must forever stay what it is
who does not govern according to eternal laws
that have perpetual validity
nor according to natural orders
of poor and rich,
experts and ignoramuses,
people who dominate and people subjected.
I believe in God
who desires the counter-argument of the living
and the alteration of every condition
through our work
through our politics.
I believe in Jesus Christ
who was right when he
“as an individual who can’t do anything”
just like us
worked to alter every condition
and came to grief in so doing
Looking to him I discern
how our intelligence is crippled,
our imagination suffocates,
and our exertion is in vain
because we do not live as he did
Every day I am afraid
that he died for nothing
because he is buried in our churches,
because we have betrayed his revolution
in our obedience to and fear
of the authorities.
I believe in Jesus Christ
who is resurrected into our life
so that we shall be free
from prejudice and presumptuousness
from fear and hate
and push his revolution onward
and toward his reign
I believe in the Spirit
who came into the world with Jesus,
in the communion of all peoples
and our responsibility for what will become of our earth:
a valley of tears, hunger, and violence
or the city of God.
I believe in the just peace
that can be created,
in the possibility of meaningful life
for all humankind,
in the future of this world of God.
Watch this space! Coming soon, your opportunity to see a filmed version of the stage production of "On The Row." EPF National Executive Council member Kathy McGregor will make this impactful film available to our Peace Partner Parishes and Chapters as soon as travel restrictions imposed by reason of the pandemic are alleviated.
Have you been graced with a COVID-19 stimulus check? And are prayerfully pondering how you might share this money in an impactful and much needed way? Please consider sharing your stimulus check to help stimulate EPF’s efforts to eradicate the death penalty with this ambitious new initiative! We plan to focus sharing this "On the Row" film in jurisdictions which have execution as a penalty still on their books, yet have not executed a condemned person in years. Oregon is an example — they have the death penalty, yet no one has been executed since 1962. Jurisdictions like Oregon seem particularly ripe for effective advocacy against the death penalty, and we are hoping to have news of the abolition of this barbaric practice by reason of EPF’s inspiring work towards this goal. Your donation here will support this effort and our other criminal justice reform advocacy initiatives. Thanks for your consideration!
About The Prison Story Project: The Prison Story Project offered incarcerated women and men an opportunity to explore their truths through poetry, creative writing, literature, song-writing, and visual art. Their work was then curated into a staged reading performed by actors and presented first to those on inside prison, and then outside to the community.
Eleven of the thirty-four men on Arkansas’ death row participated in the Project. Six actors and a musician were brought back to Varner Prison’s death row to present the staged reading of “On The Row” to the men. Three months later, the state of Arkansas announced it would execute 8 men over 10 days just after Easter 2017. Four of the men set to be executed were participants in the Project. Two were executed and two received last minute stays.
“On The Row” has been touring the country since 2017. Last year the Whiting Foundation for the Humanities awarded The Prison Story Project a substantial grant which has allowed us to create a filmed version of the staged reading as well as creation of a comprehensive teaching guide to share with other arts organizations interested in replicating our work. EPF looks forward to making this powerful film and the teaching guide available to you in the near future.
Save the date! Wear orange for gun violence prevention is June 5-7, 2020. We will be filling up the social media airwaves to create awareness around the prevention of gun violence. Send us your photos and videos so we can share the energy you have for this vital social justice effort. Please use #WearOrange for all your social media posts!
COVID-19 has forced the nation into an unprecedented emergency. The current emergency, however, results from a deeper and much longer-term crisis — that of poverty and inequality, and of a society that has long ignored the needs of 140 million people who are poor or one emergency away from being poor.
In 1968, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and many others called for a “revolution of values” in America and sought to build a broad movement that could unite poor and dispossessed communities across the country. Today, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has picked up this work. People across the nation have joined under the banner of the Campaign to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, climate change and ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism.
They are coming together to demand that the 140 million poor and low-wealth people in our nation — from every race, creed, gender, sexuality and place — are no longer ignored, dismissed or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda.
EPF DELEGATION TO GENERAL CONVENTION,
APPLICATIONS ARE HERE! LINK BELOW!
For the sixth consecutive General Convention, in June, 2021, EPF will send young adults between the ages of 18-30 to General Convention to advocate for peace and justice by drafting legislation, testifying in committee, and building support for resolutions. Delegates will experience first hand how The Episcopal Church functions as the largest democratically elected governing body in the world. For applications for delegates to General Convention, click here!
Our upcoming schedule:
Steven and I are still physical distancing in Sisters, Oregon with friends and EPF supporters Rev. Jack and Rev. Christy Erskine for a little while longer due to COVID-19. Eventually, we will be rescheduling our pilgrimage to the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest when the coast is clear. Meanwhile, I’m doing some administrative chores, trying to keep in touch with EPF supporters, reading and praying and taking action for those for whom EPF advocates — the people living in Palestine/Israel affected by the violence there, those affected by gun violence, those affected by war, the people being held in unconscionable circumstances in our unjust and racist criminal justice system, those being treated inhumanely as they try to find safe harbor in our country of abundance, those being trafficked and abused, our beautiful planet which often feels like she is in her own death throes, and all those who feel disconnected from the rest of humanity. With God’s help. . .
Until next time,
power to the peaceful!
Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration, Sisters, Oregon
Photo credit, Steven Atha