A Pastoral Word in response to the Orlando TragedyPosted: June 18, 2016
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Please receive this pastoral word from Bishop Bruce Ough, President of the Council of Bishops. It comes with my blessing and affirmation. I request that you share this with your people.
United Methodists across the world are horrified by the despicable act of terrorism in Orlando, Florida, that took the lives of 49 individuals and wounded 53 others.
We are in shock. We join those who grieve. We pray for the victims, their families, and the LGBTQ community targeted by this hateful attack. We stand against all forms of violence, committed anywhere in the world by anyone.
We stand with our Muslim brothers and sisters who have condemned this heinous act. We pledge to work together to overcome evil with good, terrorism with peace, hatred with love, and inequity with justice.
We commend the Florida Annual Conference as they gather this week in Orlando. They, along with Bishop Ken Carter, are our connectional presence in the midst of this tragedy. We pray that God will work through them to be a source of Christ’s witness, reconciliation and healing to the brokenness of an entire community.
As the people called United Methodist, let us not lose heart, but redouble our commitment and efforts to fulfill God’s vision of the Beloved Community throughout the world. As we combat evil, let us not let evil fill our hearts. As we struggle to end violence, let us not let violence become our way of life. As we battle terrorism, let us not become terrorists in the process. As we seek to be vigilant, let us not let fear curtail our hospitality. As we pray for peace, let it begin within our own spirits.
In the peace of the Lord,
Bishop Bruce R. Ough
President, United Methodist Council of Bishops.
Also, here is a link to my statement at the beginning of the Tennessee Annual Conference last Sunday.
May God grant us healing and peace.
Serving Christ with You,
Bishop Bill McAlilly