Monday, May 28, 2018

To Mr. David Burton and the faculty, staff and student body of Glenelg High School:

As members of the GHS community, and as your parents, brothers and sisters and colleagues, we were shocked and saddened by the vandalism and graffiti incident that occurred on May 24 at the school.  We feel heartsick, and we are moved to express our rejection of those messages of intolerance and hate.

We want to assure you that our values are your values:  tolerance, inclusion, diversity of human experience, equality of opportunity, pursuit of personal growth, active citizenship and compassion for others.

Moreover, to the faculty and staff, we want to express our gratitude and respect for your service and professionalism in educating and supporting our children.  Every day you wrap them in your awe of knowledge and learning and point them in the direction of attaining their potential.  You put your heart and soul into this mission, and we see it in our children.

To our GHS students, we want you to know that you are our pride and hope for the future — every single one of you, no matter your ethnic background, nationality, race, gender, sexual or gender preference.  We respect all of you, and we admire how you support each other.  At this time of new beginnings for many of you, we are thrilled that your futures are opening up new horizons. We are honored to be in community with you, and look forward to seeing how your gifts are revealed and flourish.

As a faith community, we want to wrap healing arms around all of you and support the process of moving forward in a healthy way.  Our doors are open if you wish to find a safe space to be with family and friends, or if you feel a need for pastoral counseling to deal with feelings of confusion, anger and resentment — all of which are understandable reactions to such an event.

Moreover, we want to offer our good faith and good efforts to help our community as it seeks to address the social tensions and issues that may have prompted those hateful and senseless messages.  In the best tradition of caring and compassion, we can work together to understand and address the misunderstandings and alienation that underlie such hatemessages, even as we stand in solidarity and love with those who have been the victims of those messages.

To those feeling targeted by the hate expressed, we offer our hearts and our open door.  We will not abandon you. This community is your home and intolerance and hate have no place here. And to those whose actions have reflected poor judgement, and who now are facing the repercussions of those mistakes, we also offer our thoughts and prayers, and our hope that the future will bring healing and a new direction for each of you.  We offer our help and support to all parents and families affected by this incident.

With faith in each other and in divine love and mercy, we are yours in spirit and in community,

The clergy and parishioners of St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Glenwood and the bishops of the Diocese of Maryland

The Rev. Dina van Klaveren, Rector

The Rt. Rev. Eugene T. Sutton, Bishop of Maryland

The Rt. Rev. Chilton Knudsen, Assisting Bishop of Maryland

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland

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2892 State Route 97

Glenwood, MD 21738

410-489-4035

http://standrews.episcopalmaryland.org/

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Sunday services- summer schedule:

8 am in Union Chapel

10 am in Parish House

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Please share this letter with those you believe will benefit from it in our community.