Message from Pastor Elaine

Please click here for the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas bio.

Message from the Rector

Dear All Saints:

August 12 is the anniversary of the Unite the Right rally that rocked Charlottesville last summer. So many people seem to believe that it happened and was over and done with, and I am continually asked if Charlottesville has recovered or healed or “gotten over” what happened.

The answer is “no.”

Healing is never a linear process, first of all. It comes in bits and pieces, and occasionally the trauma erupts with full force all over again, triggered by a sound or a smell or a memory.

As so often happens, the spotlight left Charlottesville soon after August 12, yet those of us who remained continued to confront violent, hate-spewing white supremacists week after week. The most vulnerable populations in the city, grateful that the genteel image of a deeply racially-divided southern town had been exposed as false, have continued to press for substantive change. The removal of Confederate monuments is secondary to affordable housing, living-wage jobs, adequate schools, and access to health care.

I was part of the clergy leadership last summer and have stayed deeply connected with those who worked alongside me. As attention is once more focused on Charlottesville and the possibility of another rally (although the location is reportedly going to be Washington, D.C.), I can feel my anxiety level elevating.

So what do I do about that, so far away from Virginia? First of all, I pray. I pray for those most deeply affected by the white supremacists. I pray for those who will be re-traumatized as the spotlight is once again on Charlottesville, with endless loops of last summer’s violence on full display. And I pray that love will triumph. It is, after all, what we believe. The writer of Ecclesiastes said, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind” (1:15). It is in God alone that we put our trust, that we are fed, that we are at home.

This week, let’s put our love into practice, countering hateful speech with Good News and the hope that comes from a deep conviction that God is love, and as God’s people, we abide in that love.


Grace and peace to you and yours,




ASEPMessage from Pastor Elaine