We mourn that we are still experiencing gun violence in our schools four years after Stoneman Douglas High School, ten years after Sandy Hook Elementary School, and twenty-three years after Columbine High School.
We mourn that this is the 27th school shooting this year.
We mourn that this shooting came just twelve days after a shooting at a Tops supermarket in a Black neighborhood in Buffalo, NY, and eleven days after a shooting at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, CA.
The evil and madness of the past weeks, together with all the mass shootings this year and too many years before, are hard to bear. The countless other deaths caused by easy access to guns is an indelible, odious stain on our country.
We pray for the students, families, staff, and members of Uvalde, Buffalo, Laguna Woods, and elsewhere who lost loved ones.
We pray as well as for all who have been retraumatized.
Even as we mourn and pray, we acknowledge that our "thoughts and prayers" are not enough.
We commit ourselves to advocate for fire arms reduction, for mental healthcare, for addressing the challenges in our communities with courage, love, and compassion, and not with hate and violence.
We will seek ways to support the victims of these recent shootings, one of which is through donations to these organizations:
We invite you to attend a virtual memorial service on Monday, May 30, 6 to 7 pm, for all communities that are hurting due to recent incidents of violence. RSVP by emailing email@example.com.
May the Divine have mercy upon us all.
Rev. Dorothy Piatt-Esguerra, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville
Rev. Alex Joyner, First United Methodist, Charlottesville
Sharon Beckman-Brindley Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville
Susan Kaufman, Insight Meditation Community of Charlottesville
Adam Slate, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charlottesville
Rev. Harry Kennon, Retired United Methodist Pastor
Rev. Mildred Best. Mount Zion Baptist Church
Rev. Susan Steinberg, PCUSA Minister-at-Large
Rev. Matthew Tennant, University Baptist Church
Rev. Liz Hulme Adam, Tabor Presbyterian Church
Pastor Devin Coles, Amazing Changes Ministries
Rev. Will Brown, University Baptist Church
Pastor Brenda Brown-Grooms, New Beginnings Christian Community
Rev. Ellen Longmoore, retired Chaplain, UVA
Rev. Jim Hassmer, retired United Methodist clergy
Rev. Dr. Linda Olson Peebles Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Charlottesville
Dr. Alvin Edwards, Senior Pastor, Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church
Pastor Sarah A. Kelley Faith, Hope and Love Int’l Healing and Deliverance Center, Inc.
Dr. Michael Cheuk, Charlottesville Clergy Collective