A message from our Bishop: Prayers for Sutherland Springs

A message from our Bishop:
Prayers for Sutherland Springs

We're reeling once again-this time from a shooting in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Most of the people in the church were shot and over half killed. I envision so many rural churches across all the places I have served in Ohio, Minnesota, and Illinois, and also my own home church, where that could have so easily happened. I can't imagine and yet I do.

What should or can you and your church do about protecting yourselves and each other? Should you have armed guards? Locked doors during worship? Or other means of barring yourselves away from the world? I think it's a worthy conversation at a church council meeting to make sure that you are alert and aren't unnecessarily vulnerable but United Methodist churches are declared gun-free zones in our Book of Resolutions.

We live in a world that isn't completely safe but we are called to be people who trust in God and refuse to live in a cowering, fearful way. So most importantly I hope that you will reflect on this verse with me:

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1)

Since there is no ultimate safety or security in this life, let us take courage and could we at least be kinder and gentler with each other on the journey? My prayers are for all who have been victims of gun violence in our communities as well as Sutherland Springs, TX. I pray that these violent events make us more merciful and peacemakers. Read the Bishop's full statement here https://www.umcnic.org/prayers-for-sutherland-springs/

~Bishop Sally Dyck