June 13, 2016
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
We are all shocked and saddened by the horrific violence in Orlando early Sunday morning. I find myself so distressed and appalled by the news that it is difficult to even reflect upon it. But, I think it is important that we, as the Body of Christ, speak and act in response to this tragedy. Therefore, I am asking the congregations and individual members of the Northern Illinois Synod to respond in the following ways:
- Pray for the families of those who were murdered, for those who were injured, for those who courageously responded to the shooting, for the city of Orlando, and for all who are traumatized.
- Pray that we will be given the grace to examine the violence in our own lives as well as in our congregations and communities. Pray also that we will be given the courage to repent.
- Reflect on the theology of evil and why terrible things happen to God’s beloved children.
- Continue and expand our dialogue with Muslims in our communities.
- Encourage our legislators to put politics aside and seek effective solutions to the root causes of violence.
- Continue to address the evils of homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry and intolerance.
- As congregations and individuals, be instruments of peace.
I invite you to pray with me.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Bishop Gary Wollersheim
Rev. Dr. Gary M. Wollersheim, bishop
Northern Illinois Synod
103 W. State Street
Rockford, IL 61101
Phone: (815) 964-9934
Fax: (815) 964-2295