Grief, Prayers from Bishops

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry:

“Pray for the repose of the souls who have died,” Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop and Primate Michael Curry said in his video message, “Prayers for Orlando,” concerning the June 12 shooting in Orlando in which 50 people died and 53 were injured.

The Rt. Rev. Scott Mayer, Bishop of Northwest Texas and Provisional Bishop of Fort Worth:

Once again we awaken to news of a mass shooting, this time the worse in US history. This story unfolded in the early hours of the morning, with most of us hearing the news as we were on our way to worship. We know the dead are in the arms of God, so let us enfold in prayer and compassion those who love and mourn for them. Pray for the first responders, for the law enforcement agencies, the grief counselors, those who are donating blood, for all those who have responded from a need to do something to help.

And pray for the LGBT community in Orlando, reeling from this horrific outburst of hatred and fear. Pray for all our LGBT sisters and brothers, who I fear are feeling very vulnerable in the wake of this act of terror.

Pray for our nation, as we refuse to give in to fear. Let us return love for hate, light for darkness, reason for panic, acceptance for rejection.

And in the inevitable sad days ahead as we deal with the aftermath of this tragedy, stand grounded in our sure and certain knowledge of the Resurrection. We are part of the Jesus Movement, and as such, people of hope and love.

The Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, Bishop of Southwest Florida:

In my recent time in Minneapolis with the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council, over Friday night’s dinner I was hearing firsthand stories from staff members of Sept. 11, 2001. That act of terrorism still leaves grim scars, and relief in the joy of life.

This Sunday on my return home from a parish visit, a priest called and informed me of the magnitude of this most recent act of terror in U.S. history.

Immediately upon the end of the call, my car music began playing the Taize song “Jesus Remember Me.” This song’s poignant text from Luke’s Gospel is “Jesus remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” It was and remains a powerful spiritual statement of divine compassion in the midst of horror.

I ask us all in the Diocese of Southwest Florida to remember in prayer all the victims of this act of extreme terrorism. We remember all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters who have been targeted by such demonic rage. We also pray for all law enforcement, emergency and medical professionals working to bring Light in the midst of this nightmare.

The Rt. Rev. Dean E. Wolfe, Bishop of Kansas (via email):

Once again I come to you with profound sadness in the aftermath of an unspeakable act of gun violence in our nation. The deaths of at least 50 people in an attack on an Orlando nightclub that left more than 50 others injured, many seriously, is now the largest mass casualty shooting in United States history. This incident reminds us of the importance of strong resolve in opposition to terror and violence in all its many and varied forms.

I ask you to pray for the recovery of those who are currently receiving medical treatment for their injuries, as well as for the family and friends of those whose lives have been taken in this horrific event. I also invite you to pray for police, paramedics and other first responders who risked their lives to save the lives of others.

I also call upon all members of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas to join me in solidarity with members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender community, which were the targets of this attack at a gay nightclub. LGBT people are often marginalized in our society, and this is a savage reminder that we have so much work to do to make our country one of “liberty and justice for all.”

We will know more about the circumstances surrounding this horrific attack in the coming days. It appears that the intent was to terrorize innocent people. Our enemies consistently underestimate our resilience and our resolve in remaining advocates for equality and justice.

In the meantime, I ask people of faith to affirm the call of our Lord Jesus Christ who proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

I will celebrate a Requiem Eucharist at Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Mission, Kansas, on Monday, June 13, at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend. (Clergy are invited to vest and wear white stoles.)

In these sad days I hope you will strive to find places where you can plant seeds of peace. We must take faith-filled action whenever and wherever we can.

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