Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The unthinkable has happened yet again, another school shooting, this time in our own annual conference at a middle school in Sparks, Nevada. At this time, the press is reporting two persons dead, a staff member, and the suspected shooter. Two other students have also been injured.
My heart is heavy, and it grieves me every time I hear of the news of our children becoming the victims, and perpetrators of gun violence. This senseless violence, that seems to have become commonplace in American society, needs to stop. It is too soon to know the details of this situation, but any occasion when a child feels the need to take their own life, or that of another, is a tragedy for us all.
Once again, a gun has ended up in a school with deadly consequences. We must continue to work with, and challenge our legislators, and other elements of our society, to find solutions that keep guns out of the wrong hands, while being mindful of the rights of all citizens, including the right to keep and bear arms.
I praise God for teachers and staff who educate, uplift, and care for the safety of our children each day. Once again a heroic teacher has placed his life on the line for the life of students at this middle school in Washoe County.
Join me in prayer for Pastor Gary Pope-Sears and the faithful people of Sparks United Methodist Church, and other faith communities, as they minister to the people of Sparks during this difficult time.
As you gather in Christian community this week, I encourage you to be in prayer with, and for, our brothers and sisters in Sparks. Our General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) in Nashville has resources for dealing with violence, conflicts, tragedies, and grief on their website. Also, several items related to gun violence can be found here from our General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) in Washington, D.C.
Let us work towards a world in which all children are safe, and violence is eradicated. May we continue in our quest to serve the Prince of Peace and create a world free of violence for all of God's creation. Let us work together for Shalom in all of our communities so that the promise of Isaiah 60:18 may be known in our land, "Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise."
Grace and Peace,
Warner H. Brown, Jr.
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