In Response to the Uvalde Shooting
A Letter from Bishop Sue Briner
A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
Dear friends in Christ:
Earlier today, a young man murdered at least 19 children and two adults on the territory of our synod. This is yet one more unspeakable tragedy that breaks our hearts. While we do not have a congregation in Uvalde, we do have family members and friends who are part of that small community, and those children could have been our children. When one member of the body hurts, we all hurt.
Our ecumenical partners who have congregations in Uvalde will be our companions in the wake of this tragedy and I have reached out to them offering our support. As we get more tangible information on how you can support them and the Uvalde community, we will make that information available through as many channels as we can. There are also various prayer services happening over the coming days, including through ELCA congregations and partners. If you are interested in attending a prayer service, please keep your eyes open for this information. If you are planning a recognition of the loss of these children, teachers and staff people, please let us know so that we might share the information with others.
I was grateful to receive a call from our Presiding Bishop, who, though our congregations were not directly impacted, has offered her love and support to our synod and the Uvalde community. Presiding Bishop Eaton also put me in touch with Lutheran Disaster Response who will be sending us a solidarity grant which can be used in whatever ways are helpful to the people of Uvalde. We are grateful for these funds, the commitment behind them, and the freedom to use them to meet whatever needs arise.
We understand and are grateful that you are eager to help, and we ask that you keep your eyes open for information regarding ways to assist as it becomes available. In the meantime, please not only pray for these families and the community of Uvalde, but also resist the temptation towards partisan division and consider how we might advocate for better laws and policies that can provide more protections against this kind of tragic and preventable slaughter.
Let us pray:
God of resurrection, we remember before you those who have died, children, teachers and staff of Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas. We commend them to your eternal love. Grant healing and wholeness to the survivors who are wounded or traumatized, and restore all whose spirits are maimed by such violence. That we may serve as your arms of care to those in distress, we pray: make us instruments of your peace.
In Christ’s love,
Bishop Sue Briner (she/her/ella)
Southwestern Texas Synod, ELCA