Dear Saint Stephen’s,
Our hearts are broken from the horrible tragedy this evening at Saint Stephen’s. I do not yet know all of the details but can confirm that two of our parishioners were killed and another is in the hospital after a shooting incident at our Boomers gathering. More than anything, I ask your prayers for our community, especially those who are injured and the families of the deceased. These are the pillars of our community, and I cannot begin to fathom how painful this is for our entire church, and the larger community. There is much that will be shared in the coming days and weeks as we look to gather and process this tragic event.
Clergy from our diocese and across the country have been reaching out in support and we are working on organizing counselors and other aid. I am working to get back from Greece as soon as I possibly can, hopefully in the next 18-24 hours. Our building is currently not accessible because of the investigation. The Rev. Katherine Harper is organizing gatherings including a prayer vigil that will be held at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Bishop Glenda will be with us on Sunday morning. Updates will be posted on our Facebook page.
I know many of you have been asking what we can do. We can pray and we can gather. People have gathered as followers of Christ for 2000 years because of the belief that God’s outstretched arms can reach all of humanity through pain and the most unfathomable loss. We gather because we know that love is the most powerful force in this world, and tonight, and in the days, months, and years that come, will hold onto that truth to know that Christ’s love will always shine.
We will keep you informed in the coming days and hours as plans evolve, and I pray for God’s peace which surpasses all understanding by keeping our minds and hearts in the love of Christ Jesus. Your clergy, Becky, CJ, Ron, Katherine, and I love you and together we will walk in love through the midst of this moment.
The Rev. John Burruss