UMNS Photo: Bishop Minerva Carcaño
Bishop Gregory Palmer, Bishop Peggy Johnson, Bishop Bruce Ough, and Bishop Minerva Carcaño are calling for prayers of healing following the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and more than a dozen – including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- wounded.
Bishop Gregory Palmer
"Once again families, a community, a nation has been victimized by senseless violence," said Bishop Palmer. " I don't need to know motive or cause to name it as senseless. Please know that my heart joins yours in praying for the deceased and their families, the injured and their families, the Tuscon community, the alleged perpetrator, and the nation.
As we pray for healing, hope and peace let us stretch out prostrate before our maker and ask that the risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit might make each of us and all of us incarnate answers to our prayers."
Bishop Peggy Johnson
Philadelphia Area Bishop Johnson notes that "both law enforcement officials and elected politicians have attributed an increase in violence and violent threats to bitter political rhetoric used in recent elections.
I implore you to avoid this kind of divisive and antagonistic rhetoric that can lead to violence," she said. "And please pray faithfully in your congregations as well as personally for an end to violence in our streets, across our nation, and around the world."
Bishop Bruce Ough urged church members in the West Ohio Anual Conference to "hold all those involved in this tragic event in your prayers, including the shooter and his family."
The bishop said that while we don't know the reasons behind the killing, the event "serves as a wake-up call to a nation that has allowed the environment of public discourse to become dominated and polluted by bitter, hateful political rhetoric in which the language and images of 'targeting' individuals is commonplace."
"I implore you to renew your stand against this kind of divisive and antagonistic rhetoric that can create hateful hearts, undermine our democratic principles and lead to unspeakable violence."
Bishop Minerva Carcaño
Bisop Carcaño who leads The United Methodist Church’s members in Arizona, issued a statement calling the shootings “senseless.” She expressed hope that the incident is not an expression of “growing intolerance.”
Giffords and two of her aides were among the 14 wounded. The dead included a federal judge, a third Giffords aide and a 9-year-old girl.
“We raise our prayers for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others who were affected by the senseless shooting that occurred today in Tucson, Ariz.,” Carcaño said. “We mourn the deaths of those whose lives were cut short in this moment of insanity, among them Federal Judge John M. Roll.
“We are holding close to our hearts those who are struggling to survive their injuries including United Methodist Pam Simon, who serves on Congresswoman Giffords’ staff,” the bishop said.
“For some time now many of us have been concerned about the uncivil tenor of life in this state, and pray that what has happened today is not an expression of a growing intolerance,” Carcaño continued. “Today we have certainly seen a blatant lack of respect for human life.
“Let us pray for healing for our sisters and brothers in Tucson, and for our state," said Carcaño. May God be merciful and may we be agents of Christ’s grace and love.”
Giffords, a Democrat, was shot while holding a meeting with the public at a grocery store. She underwent surgery and was listed in critical condition as of Jan. 9.
Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was arrested and has been charged by federal prosecutors for the shootings. The investigation is continuing.
Hundreds of House staffers and a sprinkling of congressmen gathered Monday morning outside the Capitol for a moment of silence for the victims of the Arizona shooting on Saturday.
The gathering initially was intended for Hill staff members, though several House members joined the event, which took place shortly before 11 a.m. on the east steps on the House side of the building in windy, cold conditions. The event came at virtually the same time President Obama was conducting a similar memorial at the White House.
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Missouri Democrat and an ordained United Methodist minister, gave an impromptu blessing for the 20 people shot in the Saturday attack in Tucson.
"Help us move from this dark place to a place of sunshine," the Rev. Cleaver said.
Scouting leader planned to attend the event
Douglas Wright, the scouting ministry coordinator for the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, said he had planned to attend the gathering with Congresswoman Giffords, but his plans changed.
"I am prayerfully glad that some other things intervened in my schedule," said Wright. "I have met Gabby Giffords at least four times and wanted to speak with her about solar energy development. She is a wonderful person no matter what side of the political aisle that one may sit."