It is with a deeply saddened heart that I write to you about the tragedy that struck the Tennessee Valley UU Congregation yesterday morning. You may have already heard this news, but in case you haven't, the shooting happened by a man unknown to the congregation during a performance by the young people of their summer musical project (Annie). Six people were sent to the hospital with gunshot wounds, and a seventh with an ankle injury sustained while trying to get away. Two of the members have died.
Summaries of the developing coverage can be found at www.philocrites.com.
This incident carries with it deep sadness-if there is one place that should be safe, it is the sanctuary of a religious community. Rest assured, UUA staff and members of the UU Trauma Response Ministry are responding as I type this, providing support and resources to the congregation and its members. Already other religious communities are stepping up to offer assistance, and a nearby UU congregation is holding a vigil this afternoon. There will be a vigil of Boston-area UU’s at Copley Square at 7:30pm tonight.
News of this incident will most likely be on news programs, and your children may hear about this incident. Because this happened in a UU congregation, they may wonder if they will be safe at First Parish. This kind of anxiety is common, and open and honest communication is always the best. The UU Trauma Response Ministry website has some resources on responding to children in these situations (http://www.traumaministry.org/resources.htm). You might also want to have your children draw pictures or make cards to send to the children of TVUUC-knowing that others are thinking of them is important at this time.
I will send another email out later this week as we know more about this tragedy, and as the needs of the congregation become more clear. If any donation funds are created, I will let you know.
Thank you, friends, for what I know will be your generous prayers and best wishes going out to our congregation in Knoxville.
I am sending peaceful vibes to Knoxville. I hope you will do the same.