The shooting last Sunday at the
TVUUC in Knoxville has sent shock waves throughout our
UU congregations. While it has been a devastating week for those most directly
impacted by this violence, it has also been heartening to witness the courageous
response of the congregation, supported so beautifully by colleagues both near
and far. In particular we ask your continued prayers and support for the Rev.
Chris Buice of TVUUC and the Rev. Mitra Jafarzedeh, minister of Westside UU
Fellowship, as our colleagues on the front lines of this horrific event.
Once again we are called upon in our ministries to respond to with love
and strength to a world which would have us submit to fear. Almost immediately
after the incident occurred, TV news reported that it was the TVUUC’s stance on
openness to gays and lesbians that motivated the shooter. The unfolding reality
is much more complicated. The shooter, Jim Adkisson, appears to suffer from
mental illness, which when combined with the stress of losing his food stamps
led to a convoluted notion that “liberals” were somehow to blame for his woes.
It appears that Jim feared anyone unlike himself, and in this sense the wide
tent of Unitarian Universalism was perceived to be a threat to him. While there
are real dangers associated with any prophetic witness, we cannot let our fears
in any way diminish our commitments. Let us take strength from one another, and
from the Spirit of Life and Love.As the UUMA we are so grateful to our
colleagues in the trauma ministry team who have provided such amazing support,
as well as the Rev. Bill Sinkford who flew to be with the congregation almost
immediately, the Rev. Gordon Gibson, who happened to be with the congregation
the day of the shooting and has been of immeasurable support, and the Rev. John
Buehrens, who preached at TVUUC on August 3rd as they rededicated their
sanctuary. Staff from the TJ District and other nearby ministers have reached
out in ways too numerous to tell, and hundreds of you have held vigils or have
thrown out your sermons so that you can lift this issue on Sunday, and take up
collections in support.The UUA and its district staff have done a
wonderful job of pulling together resources from how to talk to children about
violence, to safety measures you can take in your congregations, to talking
points for working with the press. We have provided links on the uuma website
(http://www.uuma.org/Knoxville_Resources) or you can simply log onto uua.org for
more information.In Faith, Love and Grief,Rob
Eller-IsaacsPresident, UUMAFor the Executive Committee of the UU
For more information contact web @ uua.org.
This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations.
Please consider making a donation today.
Last updated on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.
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