Sisters and Brothers of the Great Plains Conference,
We mourn and deeply lament the heinous, fear-driven, and hate-filled shooting last weekend at the Tree of Life Congregation in the Pittsburgh Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Eleven of our Jewish brothers and sisters lost their lives, and nine others were wounded, including four members of law enforcement who courageously rushed to the scene to stop the assailant.
As Christians and United Methodists, “we deplore acts of hate or violence against groups or persons based on race, color, national origin, ethnicity, age, gender, disability, status, economic condition, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation. We respect the inherent dignity of all persons.” (The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church. ¶ 162. III. The Social Community)
Our prayers are with the family and friends of survivors, the people recuperating from their wounds, the Pittsburgh community and the Jewish community around the world.
Please join me in prayer for all first responders, counselors, and faith leaders who will offer assistance and spiritual support to the surviving families, friends, and the community of Pittsburgh in the days and months to come.
I encourage all of our congregations to preach and teach Christ’s way of love for God and neighbor (Mark 12:29-31) and to embody language and behavior worthy of Jesus Christ, our Savior, our Prince of Peace.
O Lord, Hear Our Cries,
Bishop Ruben Saenz Jr.