Message on Orlando Shootings

Dear friends of PLTS,

Three thousand miles between Berkeley and Orlando doesn’t diminish our sense of horror, disruption or grief of the slaughter perpetrated by one man, with the help of an automatic weapon, on the people at The Pulse nightclub.  This is a litany that has become way too commonplace, with the usual complications of mental health issues, ready availability of weapons of mass destruction, violent ideologies which sanction hate crimes, and open cultural warfares.
We are called to pray and act for our American society to address these issues in ways that make our communities safer and more civil, knowing that it will be difficult to even to forge a consensus on solutions.  It is probable that, no matter what we do collectively, there will still be more of these senseless acts.  But might we hope that they would become fewer and less frequent, and that their occurrence would consistently bring us together rather spread us apart.
We might need a new version of “Never again” for this present-day rolling genocide.
In Christ, in whose name we pray for God’s realm to come on heaven as on earth,

Brian Stein-Webber and Alicia Vargas

Via an email from Bishop Steve Talmage (Grand Canyon Synod), here are a few comments from Bishop Robert Schaefer of the Florida-Bahamas Synod:

"In his sermon at the closing Eucharist this morning [at the Florida-Bahamas synod assembly], Pr. William Flippen, Jr. reminded us that 'as Christians we DO NOT have the right to remain silent.' He is right. Let's be honest: Church, it’s time to be clear about honoring and standing up for the basic human rights of the LGBTQ community and reasonable gun control in this country. Come on, who needs to have an automatic weapon? My youngest daughter has connections with one of those who died and another who was wounded. Let the church be clear: Every human being shares in the image of God and therefore shares the same dignity without regard to racial or ethnic distinction, family status, age, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, or differing abilities. Period. This senseless violence must end. Join me in praying for the victims of this atrocity, their families, the family of the shooter, and that justice may at last roll down like waters."

[Update from Bishop Schaefer on 6/13/16]

"As of now, I am aware of a relative of one of our Latino pastors who is hospitalized and in critical condition. Our Heart of Florida Conference (Orlando) rostered leaders met early this morning, since I was unable to be with them just getting back last night from our assembly, I am waiting for a report. Our closest ELCA congregation is probably less than a mile from the club. We have three ELCA hospital chaplains in Orlando who are actively ministering to the families of the victims. I spoke with them a short time ago and told them the entire Conference of Bishops will hold them in prayer: Prs. Melinda Plumley, Julie Frank and Debra Geweke. They are busy but encouraged by the support from the community including Imams who are working and praying alongside them."


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  • Message on Orlando Shootings
    Mon June 13, 2016

    PLTS is the western-most seminary in the ELCA, but we keenly feel for those on the other end of the country, in Orlando, who suffered and are suffering from just the latest, and also the largest, mass shooting in our nation’s modern history.