|Uvalde Elementary School Shooting|
|As episcopal leader for the Minnesota and Michigan United Methodist Conferences, this week Bishop Bard is leading the Minnesota Annual Conference. He asked that this pastoral letter be shared with the Michigan Conference.|
Dear Friends in Christ in the Michigan Conference:
During the first day of the Minnesota Annual Conference, it was lunch break when a headline flashed across my phone. There was an active school shooting incident taking place in an elementary school in Texas. Few details of the shooting were provided.
As the conference met in the afternoon, the conference secretary informed me that there were two dead and 14 injured in a Texas school shooting. We paused and prayed. Before the afternoon session ended, more details were arriving.
The school was Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas and the death toll was now 14 children, one teacher, and the eighteen year-old-shooter was also dead. Voice breaking, I led the conference in prayer again. I write now at the end of a long day, and the death toll is now 19 students, two adults, and the shooter.
Pray. Pray with cries of anguish and tears of grief. Pray with broken hearts and bruised spirits. Pray for this community. Pray for these families.
As you pray, ponder something with me. “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a person in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us, love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (I John 3:17-18)
Prayer is needed speech, but our prayers are insufficient. There is a need in our society for a love that leads to action. There is a need in our society for us to seriously address our problem with violence and the ease with which those intent on doing serious harm acquire weapons that give them the means to do so. While no set of laws will prevent every incident of gun violence, we are not helpless. We can do better. We must do better. Watching such horrific incidents, knowing that there are countless other smaller-scale incidents, and doing nothing is not the way of love.
Grace and Peace,
David Alan Bard
Michigan Area Bishop