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On the First Anniversary of Tragedy in Knoxville

A Statement from Unitarian Universalist Association President Peter Morales

A year ago in Knoxville, TN, a man with a gun entered the Sunday morning worship service at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC) and killed two people, Greg McKendry from TVUUC and Dr. Linda Lee Kraeger from Westside Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church. That horrific act reminds us that when hate and fear take hold of the human heart, violence inevitably follows.

The response of the Knoxville UU congregations is a more potent reminder of the power of compassion, hope and courage. Rather than respond to hate with hate, they responded with love. Rather than allow fear to take over, they reaffirmed their commitment to a message of love. The care and support of their neighbors from other faiths reminds us all that our shared humanity and our love for one another are more powerful than our theological differences.

On this painful anniversary of a terrible tragedy, let us all commit ourselves once more to creating religious communities where love can flower. Let us commit ourselves to spreading our message of compassion, hope, understanding, community and joy to a world too often hurt by isolation, desperation and conflict.

Let us stand on the side of love. Love will guide us. It always has.

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Peter Morales

Peter Morales

The Rev. Peter Morales is the eighth president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). He was elected in June 2013 to a second four-year term. Prior to his election, Morales served as the senior minister at Jefferson Unitarian Church in Golden, Colorado. From 2002 to 2004, Morales was the UUA Director for...

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