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Utah Episcopal Bishop Scott Hayashi is urging his flock to slow down and take a breath amid rising agitation over the election of President Donald Trump and the signing of his controversial executive orders during the past two weeks.

Political divisions within families and with co-workers have resulted in "the breaking of familial bonds and friendships," Hayashi said in a pastoral letter to be read Sunday at Episcopal churches across the state. "This is deeply troubling and heartbreaking to me."

The Utah church as well as the national Episcopal Church unswervingly support gender equality, efforts against gender violence, and the protection of the environment, the letter said, and works to address systemic racial injustice as well as many other social-justice concerns.

So how can the Utah diocese unify believers on opposite sides of the political spectrum?

"I will seek to serve Christ in all persons regardless of their political opinions, religious affiliation, or ethnic or cultural heritage," Hayashi wrote. "I will strive for justice and peace. I will call and witness for the dignity of every human being."

Peggy Fletcher Stack