These last three weeks have once again been a time of deep mourning and devastating horror for our nation. On Tuesday, 19 elementary school children and two teachers were murdered and 17 injured by a gunman at Uvalde, Texas, in the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook.
The previous week eleven people were killed and several injured in three senseless tragedies on opposite ends of the country. On May 17, a suspect opened fire during a luncheon at Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church and Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Wood, California, killing one and injuring five. Most of the attendees at the luncheon were Taiwanese. One day prior, a gunman shot at a crowd of shoppers in a Buffalo, New York, supermarket in a racially motivated attack. Thirteen people were shot; ten died. Of the victims, two were white, and eleven were Black. And just a few days before, a lone assailant opened fire in a hair salon in Dallas’ Koreatown, injuring three in a suspected string of hate crimes.
Again, hate has displaced families, shaken communities, and left us wondering why. We’re horrified to see the continuing devastation of hateful gun violence in America.
We are grieving not just for the victims and their families, but also for the communities that have been impacted and must now try to find words to comfort and reassure. Our hearts go out to the doctors and nurses caring for those who have been injured. Let them do their best to heal those in need. The church leaders and social workers who have to deal with the emotional and spiritual wounds caused by these actions are in our prayers. Please pray for the families who must now learn to live without their loved ones.
We all know these stories. The same horrors play out repeatedly, and prayers aren’t enough. We take seriously our promise to speak up, call others to action, and advocate for ways to find accountability for hate and to work for criminal justice and gun reform.
Let’s learn together and act together. We invite you to join us for the next 60 days on a journey of prayer, scripture, stories, and church teachings crafted by the ELCA with “A 60-Day Journey Toward Justice in a Culture of Gun Violence.” These daily reflections help us hear God’s call to prevent gun violence as people of God who seek justice and peace. You can find more information HERE on the ELCA website elca.org/60days. And stay tuned to our website and e-news to join us on this journey.
The Public Ministry Department, Dr. Kelly Sherman-Conroy and Kyle Soderberg