by Jim Antal
Since we awoke yesterday, we have all had heavy hearts. Our Sunday worship services offered many of us an opportunity to lift up to God’s compassion all who have been personally touched by the most horrific mass killing in American history. Here is a prayer offered at Old South Church Boston. Here is a statement by the UCC Open and Affirming Coalition and the UCC's National Officers.
I was with our UCC General Minister and President John Dorhauer on Sunday morning when we got news of this tragedy. We stood in silence – listening… heartbroken… angry… and resolutely committed to stand in solidarity with same gender loving people. We also committed ourselves yet again to speak out against so called leaders of religious and political bodies who create the conditions which fuel hatred which so often turns to violence. Here is a link to John Dorhauer’s statement. It also includes a message from my colleague, the Rev. John Vertigan, Conference Minister of the Florida Conference, who should also be included in our prayers.
Below, I have pasted a prayer from the Rev. Matt Crebbin, our UCC Pastor in Newtown CT, who continues to witness against gun violence with remarkable fortitude and grace.
Yesterday, a friend from the Islamic Council of New England invited me to join him in expressing his deepest condolences to the families of those affected and pledging to fight for an America free from gun violence. Click here to consider joining us. And let us all continue our resolve to speak out against any religiously-motivated hatred or violence that may arise in response to this tragedy. See this synod resolution.
And here is a portion of the Charge I offered yesterday at an installation. The Pastor, Sarah Sarchet Butter of Wellesley Village Church, asked that the charge be a convenanted charge to the congregation, the Association and to her. I offer it as a charge to us all:
In a country unique in the world - awash in guns, overwhelmed by fear, bullied by lobbies - let the church rise up; let us be relentless in our witness; let us change the national narrative from one dominated by fear to one embracing the now distant aspirations of safety and hope.
May God touch each of us with the healing we need, and give each of us the courage required make God’s love and justice real.
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