Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church

Some of you may have heard already that there was a shooting today at a UU Church in Knoxville, TN. The gunman opened fire during a children's production this morning, though no children were hurt. Two people were killed, and others injured. If you have not seen the story, here is a LINK. The TN Valley UU Church has a long history of social justice, and from statements the gunman allegedly made, they think this might be a hate crime.

Below is a statement from the President of the Unitarian Universalist Association:

UUA President Releases Statement on Tennessee Shootings
July 27, 2008

Statement from Rev. William G. Sinkford, President, Unitarian Universalist Association

I am shocked and sorrowed by the terrible shootings in the sanctuary of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. My heart is heavy and my prayers are with our injured sisters and brothers in Knoxville. While many details of this tragedy remain unclear, our Association will do all we can to support Unitarian Universalists in Knoxville in the hard days to come.

A tragedy such as this makes us acutely conscious of the beauty and fragility of our lives and those of our loved ones. I am especially saddened by this intrusion of violence into a worship service involving children and youth. I know that many people, both in Knoxville and around the country, are struggling with shock and grief right now. I pray that those so affected will find strength and comfort.

Members of the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry are on their way to Knoxville to offer additional ministry to the congregation as it grieves. And Unitarian Universalists around the world are sending love and prayers to the Tennessee Valley congregation to tell them they are not alone on this dark day.

My heart goes out to this congregation as it struggles to understand what happened in their sacred space, how a stranger could desecrate it so by spilling their blood. My prayers go out to all of those who were present, and especially to the families who lost loved ones, as well as for those who were injured.

And really, they were all injured, all of the members of this congregation, by this one man's hate. We are all injured by this senseless act of hate against good people doing good work. We are, all of us, connected, one to another, and when those who are working for social justice are attacked without provocation, it is an affront to us all.

Again, my heart and prayers go out to this congregation. And my deepest, deepest sorrow and sympathy for your losses...

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