I greet your in the name of a suffering and transcendent Savior:
On Monday, three Baltimore firefighters died in the line of duty. On Tuesday, Hyattsville Mayor Kevin Ward died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. These tragedies stir our hearts as we grieve people we might not have known, but who have lived as servant leaders among us.
The fallen firefighters, Lt. Paul Butrim, Kelsey Sadler, and Kenny Lacayo, and injured firefighter John McMaster, were trapped in an abandoned rowhouse when it collapsed on them. Their sacrifice reminds us of the courage and sacrificial service lived out every day by our public servants.
As one who worked with those in fire service earlier in my career, I know the depth of their commitment, the strong bonds they form, and the devastation they feel when a fellow responder succumbs to their injuries. We hold the families, their colleagues, and our community in prayer.
We also pray for the husband and two children of Mayor Kevin Ward and the town of Hyattsville. Ward was a rare public servant who gave his heart and soul to be an advocate for the poor and marginalized in Hyattsville. He was a friend to the congregation of First UMC and assisted them in their mission and ministry.
We lift up these losses, also aware that throughout this region, many other families and communities are experiencing heartbreak and grief. In times like this, we lament, we weep, and we turn to one another in our pain and in our hope of God’s promise of resurrection.
Let us keep praying for one another. Let us embrace the legacy of these public servants we lost this week, and let us go forth as servants of a risen savior – disciples who acknowledge the darkness while claiming God’s light. May we know comfort and grace.
Blessings and Peace,
Bishop LaTrelle Easterling
The United Methodist Church
The BWC offers the resource, Stay, for those contemplating suicide or self-harm.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (tel:18002738255). Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)