A Statement from the Presiding Bishop on the Death of Matthew Shepard
I grieve at the death of Matthew Shepard, and deplore the hate and violence which led to it. My prayers are with Matthew, his family, his friends, and his parish. Matthew was not only a member of our church family, but of our human community. He could have been our child. He was our brother.
The fact that Matthew was an Episcopalian makes our grief no more sharp, but it does give us a particular responsibility to stand with gays and lesbians, to decry all forms of violence against them - from verbal to physical, and to encourage the dialogue that can, with God's help, lead to new appreciation for their presence in the life of our church, and the broader community.
I pray that this unnecessary tragedy will make plain why we cannot be silent in the face of intolerance, or quietly accept the climate of hate and fear of "the other" that makes such a crime possible. May we accept anew our responsibility to be agents of the healing love of the risen Christ.
The Most Reverend Frank T. Griswold
XXV Presiding Bishop and Primate
The Episcopal Church, USA