To our beloved community of Cape Ann:
This weekend saw the culmination of a weeklong series of mass shootings plunging the nation yet again into grief, anger, bewilderment, shock and trauma. We grieve for the dead, for the wounded, for their families, for their friends, for their communities. We lament these events and these losses; our hearts are broken, and we pray alongside for those who are suffering.
The acts of violence this week were not impulsive. They were planned. The gunmen, as far as we know, are not mentally ill. Their actions were calculated, and at least one of them, in El Paso, was an act of domestic terrorism, done in hatred fomented by white supremacy. It is being viewed as such by the FBI. We know how to stop it, but our government has failed to act to protect our citizens.
Gun violence joined to white supremacy is destroying our nation. We are sacrificing our people to the false god of guns. One person with a weapon of war can destroy a family, a school, a temple, a mosque, a church, a neighborhood, a community. We are not immune. We know this can happen anywhere, anytime. These acts of terror are ripping the fabric of our lives. We know what can happen when such terror is unleashed on the world. We’ve seen it in our lifetimes, and it must stop.
All of our faith traditions uphold the values of love and justice, of compassion and peacemaking, of care and responsibility for each other. As people who serve you in the hope of creating loving, just and peaceful communities, we join with national and international religious leaders denouncing such violence and such hatred.
We ask you to join with us in prayer and in action to go forward together to find ways to change the gun culture of our nation, to mend what has been broken, to speak truth and insist on justice. We pledge to counter hate boldly, to live the values of our faith traditions, and to be peace-makers in word and deed. Our hearts go out to all who have lost loved ones to gun violence this week and in the past. May they be comforted and supported, surrounded by compassion and help. That those who died may not have died in vain, may we all do everything we can to keep working to end this violence.
In love and grief, lament and hope,
Pastor Anne Deneen, St. Paul Lutheran Church, Gloucester
The Rev. Judy Brain, The Annisquam Village Church, Gloucester
The Rev. Sue Koehler-Arsenault, Member, First Congregational Church of Rockport
The Reverend Mark Nelson, Founder of Sweeping Heart Zen, Gloucester.
Rabbi Steven Lewis, Temple Ahavat Achim, Gloucester
David C. Myers, Pastor, Gloucester and Rockport United Methodist Churches
The Rev. Mike Duda, UCC
The Rev. Wendy Fitting, UUA
Pastor Abram Kielsmeier-Jones, Union Congregational Church, Gloucester
The Rev. Susan Moran, Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport
The Rev. Randy Sachs, SJ, Eastern Point Retreat House, Gloucester
The Rev. Rona Tyndall, UCC
The Rev. Karin E. Wade, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Rockport
The Rev. Thomas Bentley, UCC
The Rev. Bret Hays, St. John’s Episcopal Church, Gloucester
The Rev. Teri Motley, West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church
Fr. Jim Achadinha, The Catholic Community of Gloucester and Rockport, Holy Family Parish-Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish
The Rev. Derek Van Gulden, First Congregational Church, UCC, Rockport
The Rev. Alice W. Erickson, UCC
The Rev. Dr. Marlayna Schmidt, interim pastor, First Parish Church, Congregational, UCC, Manchester-by-the-Sea
The Rev. Stephen Voysey, Episcopal priest, retired, Gloucester
The Rev. Ronald J Gariboldi, retired pastor, Holy Family Gloucester
The Midweek Musings column rotates among Cape Ann clergy.