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Diocesan Response to the May 14 Mass Shooting in Buffalo, NY

Statement from the Diocesan Commission on Dismantling Racism by the Rev. Aaron Rogers, Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Louis and co-facilitator of the Diocesan Commission on Dismantling Racism

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted by the vicious shooting at Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, NY. We especially send our prayers to the families of the 10 human beings who lost their lives after being coldly gunned down. We give thanks for the apprehension of the 18-year old gunman, but remain deeply troubled by the ever present rhetoric that fuels violent attacks on minority groups and bemoan the lack of policy that would curb access to assault weapons. Ten people died in the Buffalo attack. For the sake of all of us, we must say their names*.

  • Roberta A. Drury, 32, who had moved to Buffalo to be with her brother, who had had a bone marrow transplant

  • Margus D. Morrison, 52,

  • Andre Mackneil, 53

  • Aaron Salter, 55, a retired police officer who was working as a security guard in Top Friendly Mart grocery store

  • Geraldine Talley, 62

  • Celestine Chaney, 65, a devoted grandmother

  • Heyward Patterson, 67, a dedicated church-goer who drove people to and from the supermarket

  • Katherine Massey, 72, a community activist with a "beautiful soul", according to her sister

  • Pearl Young, 77, who dedicated her Saturdays to working in a soup kitchen

  • Ruth Whitfield, 86, who had just been to visit her husband in a care home

Saturday was a sobering moment that reminds us all that racial hatred still exists and that white supremacist ideology continues to be a repugnant and lethal force in our society. We must remain vigilant in our work of dismantling racism and commit to exposing and expunging any element in our society that seeks to arm ignorance and weaponize racial animus.

We encourage all churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri, and throughout this nation, not only to pray but to be a people of prayer, to stand against hatred, to kneel in humility with those bereaved, and to consistently orient ourselves toward the cross of Jesus the Christ that we may stand in sacred solidarity with those who are persecuted.

We do not bear these burdens alone. Let us continue to seek and serve Christ in all people. Let us continue to strive for justice and peace among all people and to respect the dignity of every human being. And in the face of horror, decide to say, we will with God's help.

Bishop Deon Johnson offers this prayer in solidarity with Buffalo, NY, following a mass shooting that took the lives of 10 people in that city:

Eternal Giver of Life,

Remind us that a single water drop has the power to shape even the hardest stone.

Remind us that a single act of hope has the power to inspire a world to be transformed.

Remind us that even a single light has the power to dispel the longest shadow.

When our hearts break, when lives are lost,

When violence threatens to overcome,

When division and disunity looms large,

Call us to be drops of water, acts of hope, lights of love; in your name we make our prayer.

Amen and Amen.

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