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Dear ones,

Like many of you, I was shocked and heartbroken by the horrific shooting that took place over the weekend at the Burlington Mall. Once again, gun violence has erupted in our region and has claimed the lives of five innocent individuals. Once again, we mourn the tragic and senseless loss of life within our community. Once again, we return to the all-too-familiar rituals of grief – our memorials and vigils and prayers.

The suspected shooter has been arrested and charged, and we will attempt to rebuild our lives and move forward. It’s part of the same cycle we follow after every shooting – shock and outrage, grief and anger, resignation. It’s easy to feel numb, it’s easy to feel hopeless as gun violence shatters our communities time and time again. But it’s in times like this that we must come together and stand united to demand more of our nation, our leaders, and ourselves.

I am proud to be a member of Bishops United Against Gun Violence, a group of more than 60 Episcopal bishops working to put an end to the epidemic of gun violence that afflicts our nation. We do this through public liturgies to commemorate the dead and inspire the living to take action, spiritual support for those who have been traumatized by gun violence, teachings on the ethics of Christian compassion and concern for the common good, and persistent advocacy for common sense gun safety measures.

I would also like to draw your attention to work being done by the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago in addressing the city’s escalating violence. CROSSwalkeducates the community about the complex issue of gun violence and stands with families who have been affected by this violence in their communities.

Join me in mourning this senseless loss of life. Join me in prayer for the families and loved ones who grieve today. Join me in standing with our brothers and sisters as we demand more of our leaders and ourselves in response to this ever-growing epidemic. Join me in advocating to our elected officials for common sense gun regulations so that tragedies like the shooting in Burlington become rarer and rarer in our communities.



On the Burlington Shootings: A Message from Bishop Rickel

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