Once again, our houses of worship have been violated by senseless violence as three people were shot at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas this morning. Two of the individuals are dead, one of those believed to be the shooter, and as is always the case in situations like this, there is much that we do not and will never know. We mourn the loss of life and pray for the families of everyone affected by this terrible tragedy.
This shooting comes on the heels of a continued rise in anti-Semitic violence these past few weeks, including a shooting at a kosher market in Jersey City earlier this month and a horrific stabbing at a rabbi’s home Saturday night leaving five individuals injured. This rise of anti-Semitism in recent years is deeply troubling, and I would encourage all of my fellow Christians to let our Jewish brothers and sisters know that we stand beside them during this time of sorrow. The Anti-Defamation League has asked that allies everywhere light a Hanukkah menorah tonight and share it out on social media with the hashtag #ShareTheLight to show our solidarity with the Jewish community and remind them that together we can stand against hatred and bigotry.
As I often try to do in these moments of collective grief and sorrow, I would encourage you to not let this seemingly endless and familiar cycle of violence, the offering of thoughts and prayers, and our leaders’ inaction lead you into despair. Yes, we will offer our prayers, but I also encourage you to take action. And I am including links below with ways that you can take action so that we can all come together to stop this continuing epidemic of gun violence that has claimed the lives of so many.
I would also encourage all of our churches to contact my office to schedule training with Ron Miller about creating a safety ministry within your congregation. As we continue to see, our houses of worship continue to be targets of violence, and it is incumbent upon us to put policies and procedures in place to makes our communities as safe as we can in these times.
From the Episcopal Office of Government Relations:
Webinar for Youth:
Bishops Against Gun Violence: Includes a Litany to be used after a Mass Shooting:
After the March for Our Lives and Actions That Might Be Taken:
Alliance for Gun Responsibility: