Sorrow, Lament, and Prayers from Bishop Leeland

August 3, 2019

Word of grace to our Western North Carolina Conference
from Bishop Paul L. Leeland
We gather for this first day of worship in August 2019, with the horrific news of two terrible incidents of violence and death impacting the El Paso, Texas community, where 20 people were killed and 26 injured; and Dayton, Ohio, where 9 people were killed and 26 injured.
These incidents leave us in shock.  During this horrendous moment we join our hearts, sympathy, and prayers with the victims, families, and communities as they grieve and react to these dreadful acts of violence.  Words alone are not enough.
We also give thanks for the first responders, police departments, hospitals, and health care professionals, who have acted quickly and bravely.  
While there will be time for in-depth reflection on issues related to firearms, community safety, racism, hatred, and mental health, this is a moment of national grief.  At this moment, we grieve with all who are impacted by these violent actions and we draw upon the gifts of our faith, compassion, kindness, and generosity as we support these families and communities.
During our worship services and prayer services, may we offer respectful silence for these victims and communities; prayers for healing and support; pleas and supplication for conversion of heart and mind; prayers to end violence and harm in all our communities; grace to live the gospel life that all our communities may increase in faith, hope, and love.  
In this moment of sorrow and lament, Lord in your Mercy, hear our prayers…