Twenty-one people were killed in an attack by a gunman at an elementary school in the small town of Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday, May 24. In light of this school shooting, Bishop David Bard issued the following pastoral letter:
Dear Friends in Christ,
It was lunch break during the first day of the Minnesota Annual Conference when a headline flashed across my phone. There was an active school shooting incident taking place in an elementary school in Texas. Few details were provided.
As the conference met in the afternoon, the conference secretary informed me that there were two dead and 14 injured in a Texas school shooting. We paused and prayed. Before the afternoon session ended, more details were arriving. The school was Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, and the death toll had increased. Voice breaking, I led the conference in prayer again.
The death toll is now 19 children, two adults, and the 18-year-old shooter.
Pray. Pray with cries of anguish and tears of grief. Pray with broken hearts and bruised spirits. Pray for this community. Pray for these families.
As you pray, ponder something with me. “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a person in need and yet refuses to help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (I John 3:17-18) Prayer is needed speech, but our prayers are insufficient. There is a need in our society for a love that leads to action. There is a need in our society for us to seriously address our problem with violence and the ease with which those intent on doing serious harm acquire weapons that give them the means to do so. While no set of laws will prevent every incident of gun violence, we are not helpless. We can do better. We must do better. Watching such horrific incidents, knowing that there are countless other smaller scale incidents, and doing nothing is not the way of love.
Grace and peace,
Bishop David A. Bard
Interim Bishop, Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church