From the Rev. Myke Johnson, July 28, 2008
All of us have been deeply shaken by the shooting on Sunday at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. We send our thoughts and prayers to the members of that congregation, who are grieving the loss of their loved ones and the desecration of their sanctuary by this act of violence. It is particularly disturbing that this act occurred during a children’s performance, and we are grateful for our UU colleagues who are traveling to help the congregation in its healing and recovery from this traumatic event.
We honor the memory of Greg McKendry, a church usher and board member, who died as he attempted to block the gunfire. We honor the memory of Linda Kraeger, who was visiting the performance from a neighboring UU church. We pray for the health and recovery of the seven others who were wounded in the attack.
We understand that the congregation was targeted because of its liberal values—their commitment and their ongoing work on behalf of the rights and dignity of all people. What deep sadness I feel that the gunman, Jim Adkisson, didn’t consider that he might have been included in that circle of compassion. In these times of economic hardship, with rising prices and the loss of jobs, no wonder that despair is growing in the hearts of so many people.
What can we do except to reaffirm our own commitment to the values of compassion? Our church remains dedicated to love, to equality, and to the dignity of all people, and we stand in support of those who have been marginalized by our society: women, people of color, people of diverse sexual orientations, and those suffering financial hardship. May these values give us strength, and bring healing and hope to our wounded brothers and sisters.
Hugs to you all, Myke
We wanted to explain more clearly that there are two separate fundraising efforts in response to the violence in Knoxville, TN last month.
Knoxville Relief Fund was established by the UUA in collaboration with the Thomas Jefferson District to bring ministry, spiritual care, and practical financial assistance to those affected - in its immediate aftermath - by the tragedy in Knoxville, Tennessee. Click here to read more about the Knoxville Relief Fund or to make a donation.
And in the wake of these events, the UUA launched a separate fund, the
Knoxville New York Times Ad Fund to support full page ads in several publications-including the New York Times, USA Today, and the Knoxville News Sentinel-which invite their readers to stand in solidarity with those affected, and proclaim what we stand for as a people of faith. Click here to read more about the Knoxville New York Times Ad Fund or to make a donation.
Thank you for your exceptional generosity in support of both of these funds - to support those affected and to share their story with the world.
Please don't hesitate to contact mailto:email@example.com?subject=Knoxville