|Source: United Methodist News|
Standing just a few blocks from the grocery store where a gunman opened fire on May 14, killing 10 people and injuring three in Buffalo, New York, Pastor George Nicholas of Lincoln Memorial United Methodist Church and others condemned this weekend’s latest mass shooting.
Labeled by many in the community as a hate crime, Pastor Nicholas said, “We’re just desperately waiting for God’s people to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us not just for a moment, not just for a vigil, not just for prayer time. I’m talking about standing with us.”
Likewise in Laguna Woods, California, Rev. Doug Williams, senior pastor of Laguna Country United Methodist Church, reached out to his Presbyterian colleague after a different shooting incident on Sunday resulted in a loss of parishioner lives.
“We are going to try to meet those needs if we can,” he said. “We’re going to offer prayers and support. I know that’s cliché, but it does give comfort to folks.”
As renewed calls for action resounded in both communities, the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race encouraged congregations to take advantage of resources and faith-based tools such as a racial justice prayer and action challenge, conversation guides, anti-racism dos and don’ts, and a guide to overt and covert racism.
Laguna Woods started as a 55+ community that has since grown into a city. A gunman opened fire at a lunch banquet of a Taiwanese Presbyterian congregation that shares a building with Geneva Presbyterian Church. The attack killed one person and wounded five others. Investigators say the killing was motivated by political tensions between China and Taiwan, and they have also labeled the mass shooting a hate crime against Taiwanese people.
According to the Gun Violence Archive, the United States has experienced more than 200 mass shootings as of the 19th week of 2022. (The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as an incident when four or more people are shot and/or killed — not including the shooter.) Saturday’s attack in Buffalo has been the deadliest mass shoot so far this year.
In a statement released after the Buffalo shooting, United Methodist Bishop Mark J. Webb, “As the Church of Jesus Christ, we condemn hatred, injustice and sin in all its forms. Violence against another, whether with a gun or with another weapon, is sin and we must stand against it.”
As communities in Buffalo and Laguna Woods continue their bereavement process, the outpouring of support has been a comfort to many families.
Source: United Methodist News